Air Check by Diana Marszalek

Arsenio's Loss Is Tribune News Viewers' Gain

With the upcoming departure of the latenight syndicated talk show, at least five Tribune Broadcasting stations will fill the 11 p.m. slot with local news, and more may follow. It’s also an opportunity to experiment with formats in the hopes of winning over younger viewers, says new Tribune news chief Katherine Green.
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Arsenio’s Loss Is News Viewers’ Gain

With the upcoming departure of the latenight syndicated talk show, many stations, including a number owned by Tribune Broadcasting, will fill the 11 p.m. slot with more local news. It’s also an opportunity to experiment with formats in the hopes of winning over younger viewers.

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After some heady early numbers, the ratings of the syndicated Arsenio Hall Show drooped and the talk show soon became an after-thought in the latenight talk wars. The word came down in late May that Arsenio would not be back for a second season.

That left Tribune, a partner in the show with CBS Television Distribution, with a whole lot of stations with 11 o'clock time slots to fill.

Part of the solution is more news, according to Katherine Green, who joined Tribune as SVP of News in May. At least five of Tribune's 39 news-producing stations will be adding news at 11, part of a larger expansion of news at the nation's sixth largest TV station group.

KTLA Los Angeles launched a one-hour newscast, an expansion of its existing 10 p.m. news, on June 16. 

Brand Connections

On June 30, WXIN Indianapolis debuted NewsPoint, a half-hour 11 p.m. broadcast with nontraditional elements like an anchor standing in front of big screens and weather in the first 15 minutes. The Fox affiliate will also add 7 p.m. news this fall.

KCPQ Seattle will introduce an 11 o'clock newscast on top of its 10 o'clock news on Aug. 17. Green is mum about what KCPQ has planned for the 11 o'clock program, including whether the newscast will run a full hour.

Two others stations will launch 11 p.m. newscasts this quarter, Green says, declining to identify them prior to the formal announcements. “I think there are other stations that will follow suit in the next six to nine months,” Green says. 

It's not just latenight that is getting newsier at Tribune. Green says there is no group mandate that stations add news, but there “certainly is a request” that they meet viewer demand. “We are seeing audiences coming back to news programming, so we want to deliver in the dayparts when there is an appetite for news,” she says.

WGNT, the CW affiliate in Norfolk, Va., added news at 7 p.m. last Thursday; Flagship WGN Chicago in September will expand its evening news by an hour, so it runs from 4 to 6 p.m. versus starting at 5.

And one other station is schedule to offer more news other than at 11 this quarter, Green says.

The cancellation of Arsenio is the big news driver. It provided an opportunity for stations to start competing against Big Three O&Os and affiliates at 11 o'clock, Green says.

But Tribune will not be turning to news as a replacement everywhere, she says. WPIX, the CW affiliate in New York, for example, put Seinfeld on at 11 p.m. after moving Arsenio to 11:30, and is still weighing options for what to replace that show with when it goes off-air.

Katz Television Group’s Bill Carroll says he believes the stations replacing Arsenio with news will be the exceptions, not the rule. He says most Arsenio stations “are more likely to roll out sitcoms especially since there are so many that are going to be available in the fall.” Mike and Molly, Anger Management and Cougar Town are among the shows that will debut in syndication.

A lot of those stations bumped sitcoms to make room for Arsenio in the first place, he says.

Green says Tribune stations weigh a number of market-specific factors when deciding whether — or when — to add news.

In Los Angeles., for instance, it “made sense” for KTLA to expand its existing newscast at 11 p.m. because it already has “a very strong 10 o’clock hour.”

In the May sweeps, KTLA finished behind both Fox-owned stations in Los Angeles, KTTV and KCAL, in the news ratings race at 10. Only a few thousands viewers separated it from second place, however.

Los Angles was one of only three top-10 markets where news viewing rose in May 2014 compared to May 2013, according to a TVNewsCheck analysis of the Nielsen ratings.

In Indianapolis, the opening at 11 p.m. provided the chance for WXIN to develop an alternative to the existing, traditional latenight newscasts, Green says. The station hired Nicole Pence, formerly of Dispatch-owned NBC affiliate WTHR, to solo-anchor the show, which, without an anchor desk, has a younger, more free-flowing vibe than conventional news.

Like Tribune’s anchorless NewsFix and the morning show Eye Opener, NewsPoint is testing alternative ways of delivering news that could be models for other Tribune stations, Green says.

NewsFix airs on KIAH Houston and KDAF Dallas; Eye Opener also airs in the two Texas markets as well as on WPHL Philadelphia, WSFL Miami and KRCW Portland, Ore.

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Comments (14) -

jdshaw Nickname posted over 2 years ago
There isn't a shred of evidence the Chicago market will support an 11pm local newscast. Chasing "1" demos.
T Dog posted over 2 years ago
You mean 10 p.m. (Central)? Fox 32/WFLD had 'The Ten" a few years ago, but it didn't work.
jdshaw Nickname posted over 2 years ago
Please read the above story. 11pm Chicago time (central time zone).
T Dog posted over 2 years ago
There was no such mention. Geez, why do I post here?
Insider Nickname posted over 2 years ago
T Dog. As typical, jdshaw is clueless and you are correct. WGN currently runs CW 7P-9P CT, Airs News at 9PM CT and AH at 10PM CT. They would simply add to their 9PM Newscast at 10PM CT.
TheVoiceofTruth Nickname posted over 2 years ago
It didn't work because of the news directors trying to pull it off.
dantheflash2011 Nickname posted over 2 years ago
Ok Let's it straight: 1.) Anger Management will aired Fox O&O 2.) NewsFix @ 10pm will dose not work. 3.) Mike and Molly will be aired on CBS O&O 4.) RUMONS: Tribune will trade Fox Stations in Houston and Austin exchange for KPCQ in Seattle and make Fox-Owned Stations and Seahawks rights, and put ethen KTXH or KIAH for sale .Because Houston Texans is the AFC? Findout
dantheflash2011 Nickname posted over 2 years ago
oh forgot KTVI too sorry.
PlasmaMan Nickname posted over 2 years ago
dantheflash - in your spare time take a typing course.
SalesGal Nickname posted over 2 years ago
Replacing Arsenio with Anger Management ... why clean up after the train wreck when you can add to it !
FlashFlood Nickname posted over 2 years ago
I expect WRDQ in Orlando to return to sitcoms at the 11 PM hour.
tmanokc Nickname posted over 2 years ago
The reference regarding KTLA's sweeps performance is a little misworded. It says "In the May sweeps, KTLA finished behind both Fox-owned stations in Los Angeles, KTTV and KCAL, in the news ratings race at 10." KTTV is owned by Fox, KCAL is owned by CBS.
Scooter Nickname posted over 2 years ago
Hall is an excellent talent. But the show died because it targeted almost solely the Black audience, making it uninteresting to people of other races, who had little or no knowledge of the guests he had on the show; thus, no interest in the show itself. I'm White and enjoyed the first series of Arsenio shows by the way, from 1989 - 1994. He's hardly a loser, and perhaps there'll be a revamped Arsenio Hall Show for him in the future.
TheVoiceofTruth Nickname posted over 2 years ago
No, Arsenio failed because he just isn't funny anymore. He didn't even pull numbers in heavily black markets like Detroit.
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Ratings

Overnights, adults 18-49 for September 26, 2016
  • 1.
    4.4/12
  • 2.
    2.8/8
  • 3.
    2.5/7
  • 4.
    1.5/4
  • 5.
    0.8/2
  • 6.
    0.3/1
Source: Nielsen

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