By Chuck Ross —
The NBC station in the nation’s 18th-largest market, Gannett’s WKYC-TV in Cleveland, "pulled three of the network’s Thursday shows, replacing them with a two-hour ‘Matlock’ episode from 1992," reports Mark Dawidziak in the Cleveland Plain Dealer.
The station is run by a cagey veteran broadcaster, Brooke Spectorsky. In a broadcast career that spans 35 years, Spectorsky also has been at KTLA-TV in Los Angeles, KTVU-TV in San Francisco, WSB-TV in Atlanta, WCPX-TV in Orlando, and WUAB-TV in Cleveland.
Besides holding the position of WKYC’s president and general manager since 1997, for the past 8 years Spectorsky has concurrenlty been the senior VP of Gannett Broadcasting, with divisional responsibility for at least four other Gannett TV stations that are also NBC affiliates, according to Bloomberg BusinessWeek.
Dawidziak in the Cleveland Plain Dealer asked whether the pre-emption was a "move to make more advertising dollars for the station with an old piece of programming? Or a sincere attempt to honor Andy Griffith after he was left out of the in-memoriam segment at the 85th Academy Awards?" Griffith died more than seven months ago, in July 2012.
Here’s how Spectorsky replied to Dawidziak: "It was both. With a local movie, we keep all the advertising dollars and can make significantly more revenue than with network programming. But we also felt that Andy Griffith got snubbed and this was a chance to pay a nice tribute to him. It was not meant as a comment on NBC programming. The February sweeps were over and it was an ideal moment to honor a beloved TV legend."
Dawidziak adds: "Spectorsky made certain that the 20-year-old ‘Matlock’ didn’t disrupt the 8-9 p.m. programming: original episodes of ‘Community’ and ‘Parks and Recreation.’ And reports that Channel 3 will air another two-hour ‘Matlock’ this Thursday are in error. The NBC Thursday shows will be back."
In the report, Spectorsky adds: "This is not any kind of long-range programming strategy. It was just something to try at the end of the month."