Tribune's The Bill Cunningham Show is going national this fall, airing on The CW at 3 p.m. across the country. Cunningham will replace Dr. Drew's Lifechangers, which currently runs in the slot.
"Since the launch of The Bill Cunningham Show six months ago, the show has far surpassed expectations and found a strong voice in the daytime talk landscape," said Sean Compton, president of programming and Entertainment in a statement. "ITV Studios and Executive Producer Kim Brechka have produced a very successful first season, and the renewal and expansion of the show to a national platform are a testament to Bill's staying power."
"Through our strong partnership with The CW Network, we are confident we will build a long-term, successful franchise," said Nils Larsen, Tribune Broadcasting's president and CEO.
Cunningham, a Cincinnati-based nationally syndicated talk radio deejay, has been hosting his new conflict-style talk show from a studio at Manhattan's Penn Station since September. The show currently is carried on Tribune-owned stations in all 19 markets where the broadcaster operates, as well as three other stations.
"I am humbled and quietly proud to drive the daytime talk format into the 2012-2013 television season. This ride will be very exciting for each of my valued viewers and I look forward to reaching them on a national stage," said Cunningham in a statement.
Cunningham's strength - like its NBCUniversal-produced compatriots Maury Povich, Jerry Springer and Steve Wilkos - is that the show seems to appeal to younger demographics.
On Tribune's WPIX New York, the country's top market, Cunningham so far in February ranks second in its time period among adults 18-49 at a 0.5, although it's fifth among households averaging a 1.3. On PIX in January, Cunningham was frequently the top-rated show in its time period among adults 18-49 and adults 25-54. On WGN Chicago, Cunningham is second in the time period among adults 18-49 at a 0.8, beating the venerable Judge Judy on CBS-owned WBBM.
Clearing the show on The CW, which is carried by the Tribune-owned stations in top markets, means that Tribune does not have to seek a distributor to sell the show into national syndication on a market-by-market basis.
"We believe this is the best thing for our stations," said Compton in an interview. "We are in the job of getting the best ratings for our stations. In key markets for our company, this show will continue to be on our stations in good time periods."