Syndie Shows Get Ready to March

Mar 1, 2009  •  Post A Comment

Syndicators are getting ready to roll out the stunt programming for a rare March sweeps ratings period, and stations are struggling to figure out what to do with what promises to be difficult-to-analyze data.
Usually held in February, the spring sweep was moved back a month to accommodate the original digital television transition date of Feb. 17. If the transition had gone poorly and viewers were left without television signals, it would have negatively affected the sweeps, robbing smaller-market stations of ratings points they covet.
Broadcasters are going to have a difficult time processing the March data, as comparisons to previous February sweeps are all but impossible due to changes in viewing patterns caused by daylight-saving time and improving weather.
Syndicators are hitting the ground starting March 5 with programming gimmicks and theme weeks to draw in viewers for the sweeps, which are used to set some advertising rates.
Highlights include:
—NBC Universal’s “The Jerry Springer Show” is launching the “Springer Singer Search,” which invites viewers to create original songs about the show; the winner will perform on the show. Also, the company’s “Deal or No Deal” will have theme weeks, including Teachers Week and Firefighters Week.
—CBS Television Distribution’s “Jeopardy!” will air its yearly Tournament of Champions as well as an episode of “Celebrity Jeopardy!” filmed in January at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.
—Warner Bros. Domestic Television Distribution’s “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” will hold a “Game Week” starting March 9, culminating in an audience member winning a Hawaiian vacation.
—Disney-ABC Domestic Television’s “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire” will host a “Wedding Week” starting March 23, with engaged couples taking a shot at the big $1 million prize.
—Twentieth Television’s “The Morning Show With Mike and Juliet” will have a week of dares starting March 16 between the hosts, including working weird jobs.
The coming sweeps period is only a few weeks away from the May sweeps.
“This book, you’re going to get at the end of April. We will already be in the May book,” said Tim Larson, general manager of KRDO-TV in Colorado Springs, Colo. “It’ll more or less be useless.”
He said the results from the March sweep will be a double-edged sword, as a poor sweeps period will reflect badly on the station but a good period will be chalked up as a fluke of having sweeps in March.
“We are going to put our best foot forward,” Mr. Larson said.


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