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CW’s St. Louis Affiliate News Move Pushes Prime-Time Block Back

Aug 25, 2008  •  Post A Comment

Tribune-owned CW affiliate KPLR-TV in St. Louis is shifting its prime-time lineup to reach out to a new local news audience. It’s also targeting younger viewers it feels are abandoned at the end of networks’ evening lineups when they help their affiliates collect the 25- to 54-year-olds essential to late local newscasts.
The station announced Monday it is expanding and shifting its weeknight newscast, “CW 11 News,” to a 7-8 p.m. slot, the beginning of prime time in the Central time zone, which means The CW’s entertainment block will air from 8-10 p.m.
The moves take place Sept. 8, as The CW starts its second week of the new season.
“We feel there is a real opportunity to reach the news audience whose busy lifestyles may not allow them to be home in time for news that is over by 6:15 in the evening,” KPLR news director Sheldon Ripson said in the announcement.
“Research shows that the last hour of prime on the other stations skews older, so we will be offering a unique choice to younger viewers, notably in the 9 o’clock hour,” KPLR VP and General Manager Bill Lanesey said, noting the target audience for The CW is 18-34.
Mr. Lanesey said that in St. Louis, the number of adults in The CW’s demographic who are watching television is nearly five rating points higher between 9 and 10 p.m. than between 7 and 8 p.m.
The CW signed off on the counterprogramming move.
“We have worked with Bill Lanesey and Tribune over the last number of months on this matter. We respect the needs of our affiliates and their knowledge of their own individual marketplace,” Elizabeth Tumulty, senior VP of distribution for The CW, said in the announcement. “As a new network constantly exploring innovative ways to drive ratings, we support KPLR’s initiative to improve their business and will work in concert with them to make this experiment a success.”
(2:45 p.m.: Corrected station call letters in first paragraph)

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