'Rachael' Will Cook Till 2012

New York and Philly ABC stations key for CTD talker

CBS Television Distribution's Rachael Ray has been renewed through the 2011-2012 season in 60% of the country, according to Joe DiSalvo, CTD's president of sales. The renewal will take the show through six seasons. That includes slots on the ABC Owned Television Stations in key markets such as WABC New York and WPVI Philadelphia.

“Our client stations have recognized the quality of Rachael Ray, along with its terrific entertainment value, and consider it a key part of their daytime lineups. Having the ABC stations on board through six seasons speaks to the importance of the show,” DiSalvo says.

Rachael Ray has been a strong performer with viewers and advertisers since it debuted on our stations a few years ago,” adds Walter Liss, president of the ABC O&O group. “We're now pleased to extend our commitment to this popular series through 2012.”

Rachael Ray was down 6% in the May sweeps to a 1.7 live-plus-seven household rating, a pretty typical drop for syndicated first-run shows this season. But the show improved 29% from last May on WABC in its 10 a.m. slot between Disney-ABC's Live With Regis and Kelly and ABC's The View, at least partly explaining why Liss was happy to renew it.

Valuable asset

“The ABC stations really get Rachael's value,” says Terry Wood, CTD's president of creative affairs and development. “Those stations are very oriented toward community service, and Rachael is the perfect fit for them.”

Securing a renewal on the ABC stations was essential to the show's continuation. Now that ABC has committed to the show for another two years, other stations can feel confident in renewing it. At 60% of the country, DiSalvo still has key markets to lock up, but he's well on his way.

Rachael Ray will remain on incumbent stations in the same time slots in most markets, DiSalvo says. One exception is Chicago, where the show is moving from CBS-owned WBBM at 2 p.m. to Tribune's WGN at 10 a.m., following Regis and Kelly. WBBM will fill the slot with “best-of” episodes of CTD's Judge Judy, which runs on the station in originals at 4 p.m., following CTD's Dr. Phil at 3 p.m.

Because Rachael Ray tapes in New York, the show makes extra effort to work with WABC in the No. 1 market. Every day, Ray appears in customized spots to promote her show during Regis and Kelly. She's also made the trip to Philadelphia to host the local Thanksgiving Day parade and promote her show on WPVI.

Branding opportunities

Rachael Ray also makes the most of its advertising partnerships, integrating them seamlessly into the show. That helps the show increase its revenues without having to drastically boost its license fees, something that stations are hard-pressed to tolerate while the economy remains tough.

Sponsors who have participated in brand integrations with Rachael Ray include big-box office retailer Staples, which did home makeovers for guests; Sears' Kenmore Elite appliances, which sponsored “Rach to the Rescue” segments; and Uncle Ben's Rice, which sponsored “Hey, Can You Cook?” segments, some of which featured contestants using the company's products. The Egg Board, Walmart and Sara Lee also have done integrations on the show.

Rachael Ray is especially appealing to viewers in this challenged economy because “she's centered in value,” Wood says, with the show featuring many segments on how to cook, decorate or dress for less. “Value has always been important to us since day one. That's been a part of the show we've never strayed from.”

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