Freshman Talker 'Steve Harvey' Thriving on NBC O&O's -- but the Syndie Lead-In to 'Harvey' Appears to Be in Trouble TVNewsCheck

The new syndicated daytime talk show “Steve Harvey” has blossomed into a strong companion program and lead-in for “Ellen” on the NBC Owned Television Stations, with both the programs and the stations benefiting from the relationship, TVNewsCheck reports. But another new talk show, “Jeff Probst,” which leads in to the “Harvey”/”Ellen” pairing in five key markets, has faltered, the report notes.

Other syndicators are circling in the hopes of snatching the “Probst” time slots, the story says. “Probst” leads in to “Harvey”/”Ellen” in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Diego and Hartford, Conn.

“At least two of the major syndicators would like to supply a replacement,” the story reports. “Sony Pictures Television is pitching ‘Queen Latifah’ and NBCUniversal is said to be developing a show tailor-made for the group’s daytime schedule.”

Says one syndication executive, referring to the “Probst” situation: “Just a few weeks ago, NBC stations had an entire afternoon of problems. Now, in just a few weeks, after having a daytime problem for years, they have [only] one problem.”

The NBC O&O’s, the story reports, have become “the key to the first-run broadcast syndication marketplace” -- and eight of the 10 stations are looking for a replacement for CBS Television Distribution’s “Probst.”

“In the past, the NBC stations were the launch group of last resort. But the group may finally have shaken its loser image. Last year, NBC gave homes to two new high-profile shows -- ‘Probst’ and ‘Steve Harvey’ from NBCUniversal,” the story reports. “While Probst has flopped, Harvey has blossomed into a solid companion and lead-in for 'Ellen.' In three markets, 'Harvey' and 'Ellen' air at 2 and 3 p.m.; in five others, at 3 and 4.”

Ratings this month for “Harvey” on the NBC-owned stations have improved the time slot average by 89% from a year ago, to a 1.7 household rating, based on Nielsen weighted ratings, the story reports. “It’s up 140% among women 25-54 to a 1.2,” the report says. “’Ellen,’ which leads out of ‘Harvey,’ is up 28% in households to a 2.3. It’s up 23% in women 25-54 to a 1.6 rating.”

The report adds: “As the syndicator that brought ‘Harvey’ to the NBC stations last year, NBCUniversal may have the inside track on providing the ‘Probst’ replacement. It also doesn't hurt that NBCUniversal is a member of the same corporate family (Comcast).”

A rep for NBC said it’s too soon to comment about fall 2013.