The new offerings on the O&Os are delivering big percentage gains in the key demo, but the shows they replaced were notoriously poor performers. Bottom line is that syndicators like Warner Bros. (Anderson Cooper) and Sony (Lisa Oz) that are looking for slots in major markets for next fall may be able to find them on the NBC stations.
NBC Daytime Showing Progress This Season
NBC Local Media kicked off the new broadcast season a couple of months ago with a radically overhauled daytime lineup aimed at boosting the station group’s lackluster ratings. So far, with high-profile shows like Nate Berkus and Access Hollywood Live replacing duds like Martha Stewart and Bonnie Hunt, the lineup is an improvement, but far from a roaring success.
“We’re pleased with the new shows and very encouraged by the growth we’re seeing throughout the daypart,” says Liz Fischer, a spokesperson for NBC Local Media.
Ratings among women 25-54 at NBC O&Os in the top-three markets are significantly up from this time last year, but from small bases. WNBC New York is tied at No. 2 with Tribune’s WPIX with a 0.9 rating from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. among women 25-54 so far this season. That is up 80% from this time last year. But WNBC still trails far behind WABC, which is No. 1 and up 82%, to a 2.0 rating.
Meanwhile, KNBC Los Angeles has seen its ratings increase 200%, to a 0.6 among women 25-54. It’s in a three-way tie for No. 2, far behind KABC, which has a 1.5 rating. In Chicago, NBC’s WMAQ is up 40%, to a 0.7 rating, ranking No. 4 behind ABC’s WLS (2.7 rating), CBS’s WBBM (0.8) and Tribune’s WGN (0.8).
“Has this overhaul worsened NBC’s situation? Probably not,” says Bill Carroll, VP-director of programming at Katz Television Group. “They just seem to be in about the same place.”
The so-so returns mean that the NBC O&Os, particularly in the top-three markets, will likely be a critical launch group for first-run syndicated shows in fall 2011.
Among the shows vying for timeslots next year are Warner Bros.’ Anderson Cooper and Sony Pictures Television’s Lisa Oz.
NBC’s other O&Os: WCAU Philadelphia, KNTV San Francisco, KXAS Dallas, WRC Washington, WTVJ Miami, KNSD San Diego and WVIT Hartford, Conn.
The NBC stations came into this season with a mix of syndicated shows and originals like the news compilation show Daily Connection in some markets. These shows joined long-running network programs like Today.
A closer look at the group’s syndicated shows reveals one of its strengths: Warner Bros.’ Ellen. It’s up 11% from last year on eight stations in LPM markets, to a 1.0 rating among women 25-54.
But NBC’s new syndicated shows are fairly weak performers. Key among them is NBCU’s off-cable Real Housewives. It has improved on its timeslots by 33%, but it’s still generating a mere 0.4 rating.
And it’s a decidedly mixed performer. It has improved its timeslot by 150% from last year on KNBC Los Angeles, for instance, to a 0.6 rating. But it’s down 33% on KXAS Dallas, to a 0.4.
Nate Berkus from Harpo Productions and Sony (the team behind Dr. Oz) is generating decent ratings in the first year of its two-year deal with NBC. It has improved its timeslots by 25% on NBC O&Os in LPM markets, to a modest 0.5 rating among women 25-54.
Meanwhile, Access Hollywood Live is doing well in its limited 13-station rollout, which includes six NBC stations.
Of the four NBC O&Os carrying it in LPM markets, AHL is up 100%, to an average 0.6 rating. It’s up 167% from Martha on WNBC New York, to a 0.8. It’s up 150% from a local news show on KNBC Los Angeles, to a 0.5. And it’s up 33% from Martha on WMAQ Chicago, to a 0.4.
AHL is a good bet for a pick up for 2011, but it’s not a sure thing. The show could end up replacing reruns of Access Hollywood, from which it was spawned. If that’s the case, NBC will have to decide if those reruns or fresh episodes of AHL do the better job of adding to its bottom line.