‘Inside’ Snags Slot Upgrades for Fall 2005

Jun 13, 2005  •  Post A Comment

King World has secured time period upgrades for its syndicated newsmagazine “Inside Edition” in at least 20 large and midsize markets for the 2005-06 season, with some early-fringe upgrades taking place as early as last week.

Last Monday in Houston, for example, “Edition” moved from its late-fringe time period on Post-Newsweek Stations’ NBC affiliate KPRC-TV to the ABC owned-and-operated KTRK-TV at 3:30 p.m. (CT), replacing Buena Vista’s rookie talk strip “The Tony Danza Show.”

In September in Minneapolis “Edition” will move from late fringe on the CBS owned-and-operated WCCO-TV to Hubbard Broadcasting’s ABC affiliate KSTP-TV in early fringe, replacing one of two runs of Paramount Domestic Television’s “Judge Judy.”

“Edition” is also slated for a number of prime access upgrades for fall 2005, including Tampa, Fla., where the strip will move from late fringe on E.W. Scripps’ ABC affiliate WFTS-TV to replace “Access Hollywood” in early fringe.

King World centered its pitch for upgrades on “Edition’s” longtime solid ratings, said Joe DiSalvo, King World’s president of domestic television sales.

“There are three things about ‘Inside Edition,'” Mr. DiSalvo said. “It’s been on the air for 17 years, it’s renewed through the 2008-09 season in 80 percent of the country, taking it through its 21st season, and in every major sweeps since it’s been on the air, ‘Inside Edition’ has been a top 10 syndicated show.”

For the May 2005 sweeps, “Edition” was tied for the No. 8 spot among first-run syndicated strips with game show “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire” and courtroom show “Judge Joe Brown” with a 3.3 national household rating, according to Nielsen Media Research. “Edition” was the top newsmagazine strip, second only to perennial genre leader “Entertainment Tonight” from King World’s sister company Paramount.

Unlike the other syndicated newsmagazines, “Edition” features human-interest stories along with celebrity coverage, which Mr. DiSalvo said makes the show “good counterprogramming or a good companion” to “ET” or the other entertainment strips. “It’s got a lot of flexibility with it,” he said.

The big push for “Edition’s” upgrades in a wide range of markets is not unprecedented for newsmagazine strips. In 2000, Warner Bros. Domestic Television Distribution launched a campaign to get its ratings-challenged strip “Access Hollywood,” then 4 years old, more access clearances. The show’s owner, NBC, issued an ultimatum at the time to Warner Bros., which was distributing the show. The push included a cut-rate license fee for a guaranteed access time period and a promise from Warner that it would spend much of the license fee to promote the show in the local market.

For King World, there were no extraordinary “Access Hollywood”-like deals being offered to stations as part of “Edition’s” upgrades, Mr. DiSalvo said.

“It’s business as usual,” he said. “We have a strong story to tell. We saw some openings and took some advantages.”

There is also no need for King World to pump money back into promotion, because the company is already doing what it needs to do to promote “Edition” in local markets, Mr. DiSalvo said.

“If we’re on the right station, in the right time period, we want to be on that station for a long time,” he said.

King World, which has used the spinoff strategy successfully with its talker “The Oprah Winfrey Show,” does not have plans to develop another syndicated property from “Edition” but is open to developing the show’s brand in other areas, mainly cable, Mr. DiSalvo said.

“The market can take only so many shows,” he said of syndication, but he added that programs such as “ET on MTV” could serve as a model going forward.

“We’ve had some conversations about that, and if we can do that we will,” he said.

Another upgrade is set for Indianapolis, where the show is moving from late fringe on LIN TV Corp.’s CBS affiliate WISH-TV to access, bumping “Extra.”

In Albany, N.Y., “Edition” will move from its 11:30 a.m. (ET) time slot on Hubbard’s NBC affiliate WNYT-TV to an access time slot currently held by fellow King World show “Everybody Loves Raymond” on Freedom Communications’ CBS affiliate WRGB-TV.

In both Dayton, Ohio, and Richmond, Va., “Edition” will replace “Friends” in the fall in access. On Dayton’s LIN TV NBC affiliate WDTN-TV the show will be paired with “Jeopardy!” while on Jefferson Pilot’s NBC affiliate WWBT-TV in Richmond “Edition” gets an “ET” pairing.

Other markets where “Edition” has upgrades for the fall include Wichita, Kan., Davenport, Iowa, Bangor, Maine, and Fresno, Calif.

The upgrades make sense, said Bill Carroll, VP and director of programming at Katz Television Group. “It’s the natural evolution of the show that continues to sustain,” he said. “And when stations are looking for what they can upgrade, they look to ‘Inside Edition.'”