KRON Moves Phil, Adds News

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Young Broadcasting’s San Francisco independent, KRON-TV, which renewed King World’s syndicated talker Dr. Phil through 2009, will move its morning run of the show to afternoons, a decision that has also prompted it to add an hour-and-a-half of news.

The station has been looking to get more buck for the ratings bang out of the second run of Dr. Phil, which tops all syndicated talkers in the national Nielsen ratings with the exception of its progenitor, The Oprah Winfrey Show.

By moving Dr. Phil to an early fringe afternoon time period (3 p.m.), the station will get to charge more for ad time, though it also has to pay distributor King World more for the time period.

KRON currently airs the primary run of Dr. Phil at 8 p.m., then again at 9 a.m. The move of Dr. Phil out of the 9-10 a.m. period also gave KRON the opportunity to expand its morning news to fill that extra hour. Morning news has become a major growth area for local stations.

Once the station decided to make the Dr. Phil move, says KRON VP, programming, Pat Patton. Expanding the morning news made sense, particularly because no one else in the market was doing news at that hour. "When you are an independent in a big market," says Patton, "you have to look to zig where others are zagging."

Besides, says Patton, there were frequently events, weather problems or traffic snarls--that prompted it to extend its news coverage anyway. Sometimes that meant preempting Dr. Phil, which didn't make viewers happy.

The move prompted another zig--back to a 4-4:30 p.m. newscast, which the station had programmed up until a couple of years ago, when it dropped it for economic reasons.

The new economics of Dr. Phil suggested a return to the newscast, says Patton. "If we are going to put Dr. Phil at 3 p.m. and pay some additional money to do that, you want to use that as a news lead-in," says Patton.

As with any move in the dominoes game of schedule reshuffling, something had to go. In this case, KRON is replacing an hour-and-a-half of infomercials to make room for the news.

In addition, Fear Factor, which had been airing at 3 p.m., moves to 2 to make room for Phil, while Cagney & Lacey, which had been at 2, moves to 4 a.m., replacing paid programming. Frasier, which had aired at 4 p.m., moves to 1:30 (also replacing paid programming) to make room for the new newscast.

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