12. Belo TV Group

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18 stations/12.97% of U.S.

We're in pretty solid shape for 2001," says Dennis Williamson, senior vice president, Belo TV group. "There may be a couple of weekend holes or a morning here or an afternoon there. But for the most part, the group has wrapped up its syndicated buying.

Williamson has seen some product he likes. "Part of our problem is that we don't really have the holes at our stations to take all that I think might have a chance," he says. "We're always interested even if we've got a full program schedule in talking to any syndicator about any product. Because you never know where the next big show is coming from."

Belo renewed Oprah
in 11 markets and is adding the show to KVUE-TV Austin's schedule. "It fills a big hole," Williamson adds. "Even though some of her [Oprah's] ratings are down, when you look at your alternatives, it is still a very powerful show."

Moreover, he notes, the ratings for syndicated programming in general have dropped off. "It used to be you wouldn't renew a show unless it had a 25 share attached to it. Now shows with 12 and 11 shares are routinely renewed."

Five years ago, Williamson continues, a show launched with a 1.5 to 2 rating would not have been renewed. "It is a different matrix that you have to look at today for what is a winning show," he maintains.

And Belo has not lost faith in the talk show genre. The group acquired Ananda
in several markets. "She appears to be a great talent," says Williamson. "If they can put the right vehicle around her, I think it's got as good a chance for success as any of them out there." Ananda
will replace Dr. Laura
in four markets, he adds. And some stations have bought Iyanla.
The group also airs Judge Judy
and Judge Joe Brown
in several markets.

Wheel
and Jeopardy
are mainstays in access for many Belo stations. However, some of the group's smaller market stations will run Friends
in access or even in late night. Some stations also carry Hollywood Squares
and ET.

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