NBC O&Os Deciding Their 2004 Lineups

Dec 8, 2003  •  Post A Comment

The NBC owned-and-operated stations are fine-tuning their schedules for 2004, and the results will be seen beginning in February.
Last week the group announced it had officially renewed freshman talk show “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” for a second season and canceled the sophomore strip “The John Walsh Show.” As a result, a couple of makeover strips could hit the air earlier than expected.
The expected renewal of “Ellen” for fall 2004 covered all of NBC’s 14 O&Os, representing more than 30 percent of the country. In total, the series has been sold in more than 50 markets, including in 19 of the top 20, representing more than 60 percent of the country.
“`Ellen’ has been a terrific addition to our lineup, and we are thrilled to have her back for another season,” said Jay Ireland, president, NBC Television Stations. “Her dynamic personality, wonderful sense of humor and ability to connect with the audience is the key to her success. The series is not only bringing more viewers to our stations but has great demographics.”
“Ellen,” which debuted Sept. 8, averaged a Nielsen Media Research 2.8 rating/8 share on the station group during the recently concluded November sweeps, improving those time periods by 22 percent in ratings (from a 2.3) and 14 percent in share (from a 7) over November 2002 time period averages.
“We couldn’t be more pleased with our partnership with NBC on `Ellen,”’ said Dick Robertson, president of Warner Bros. Domestic Television Distribution. “This series has proved to be the right fit for them, attracting the upscale young audience that watches their stations. NBC has done everything that they can to support the successful launch of the show, and we are delighted that our partnership will continue.”
Meanwhile, “The John Walsh Show” got the ax last week from distributor NBC Enterprises. Production of the strip will stop Dec. 12, with new episodes running through February.
A statement from NBC Enterprises read: “The efforts by John and his staff have resulted in impactful shows that have addressed real issues that viewers face on a daily basis. However, with his prime-time program, charitable causes and extensive work with law enforcement, serious time constraints have made it very challenging for John to continue to host `The John Walsh Show.”’
“Walsh” has averaged a 1.1 this season, down 15 percent from last year’s average.
With a hole in the lineup after the departure of “Walsh,” sources said, NBC Enterprises is mulling a potential early start for two of its makeover shows in development for the station group.
The shows could launch either immediately after “Walsh” leaves the air or in May upon the completion of “Starting Over’s” first season, since, as executives and producers have said, no repeats of “Starting Over” will air during the summer, and if the series is renewed, the logistics of moving the series to a new city can be time-consuming.
Two of four half-hour makeover series are being considered by the station group, Three from NBC Enterprises and one from Universal, which will formally be acquired by NBC next year.
From NBC will come “Gals Pals” by the creators of Bravo hit “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy”; “Nobody’s Perfect,” from Bob Kusbit, executive producer of MTV’s “TRL”; and “You Better Be Ready” with QVC hosts Nick Chavez and Stacey Schieffelin. Universal is developing a makeover strip from “Trading Spaces” producer Denise Cramsey.