NBC Universal Television Distribution’s “The Steve Wilkos Show” will be back in 2009, with stations in major markets renewing the spinoff from “The Jerry Springer Show” for a third season.
Tribune stations in Los Angeles, New York and Philadelphia renewed “Wilkos,” NBCU TV Distribution said today. Other stations renewing the show include Sinclair outlets in Pittsburgh, Baltimore and Columbus, Ohio; Weigel’s station in Chicago; Sunbeam’s Boston station; and Hearst-Argyle’s owned station in Orlando, Fla.
The show is sold as a cash-plus-barter deal in 70% of the country for season three.
“Wilkos” and “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” are the only talk shows showing an increase in ratings year-over-year this season. “Wilkos” hit a series-high 1.2 household rating during the most recent week of syndication ratings.
“Wilkos,” along with “Springer” and NBCU’s “Maury,” have performed well as a programming block on Tribune stations, according to NBC. All three shows now are renewed on Tribune until 2010.
NBC and Tribune are hoping to see continued audience growth out of “Wilkos,” with a renewal holding the show in a consistent time period.
Sean O’Boyle, executive vice president and general sales manager for NBC Universal Television Distribution, said the station reaction to “Wilkos” has been positive.
While stations have chosen to renew the show for only one year at this time, Mr. O’Boyle said he sees the show lasting for multiple seasons.
He said he’s confident Tribune will renew the show in 2010, even with the possibility that new syndicated talk-show competition may emerge, with CBS Television Distribution’s “T.D. Jakes” set to launch on the Tribune station group next year.
“We were always confident that ‘Steve’ would remain part of these stations’ key daytime block,” Mr. O’Boyle said.
Tribune voiced confidence in Mr. Wilkos’ program.
“We’ve been very pleased with the performance of ‘The Steve Wilkos Show’ for two seasons now, as it has worked very well alongside our other daytime programming across our station group,” Sean Compton, senior VP of programming and entertainment at Tribune Broadcasting, said in a statement. “We look forward to another strong season with Steve and the team at the show.”
Tribune’s renewal of “Wilkos” comes during a time of financial restructuring for the station owner, which filed for bankruptcy in December.
Fallout from Tribune’s travails is affecting the syndication realm, as distributors like Disney-ABC and News Corp. announced major writedowns in their previous financial quarters last week.
Operating income in Disney’s broadcast division fell by 60% year-to-year, due in part to a $60 million writedown related to Tribune’s bankruptcy. News Corp. said it has set aside $10 million in order to cover possible losses from Tribune.