Stations across the country are figuring out their post-Oprah game plan.
Chicago’s WLS, Oprah’s hometown station, which airs the show at 9 a.m., is replacing it with a locally produced program. California’s Central Coast will get Ellen DeGeneres on KSBW, the station that currently airs Oprah. Other stations are looking at “Dr. Oz” or “Dr. Phil,” for the coveted slot. Both shows had non-competes with Oprah.
WABC, the New York station that airs Oprah, has opted for another popular choice: local news.
So what will WINK, the Southwest Florida Oprah station, air at 4 p.m. come this fall? I think I’ve figured it out.
I met up with Greg Stetson, WINK’s program director, and Joe Schwartzel, president of WXCW (TV 6), last month at NATPE, the TV execs’ convention, and they gave me some pretty good clues.
For starters, TV 6 has some really big names headed their way. “Dr. Phil” is moving to the station this fall. Anderson Cooper’s daytime show will also be on 6.
With those two names out of the running for WINK at 4 p.m., and with “Dr. Oz” locked on NBC-2, I’m guessing WINK will also opt for local news at 4 p.m.
Wait! Wait! you say. We already have a 4 p.m. newscast. You are correct. NBC-2 airs news at 4 p.m. But look at the two stations’ competitive history.
WINK launches a 7 p.m. newscast. NBC-2 follows with a 7 p.m. newscast on WZVN.
NBC-2 launches an 11 a.m. newscast. WINK follows suit at 11 a.m. on TV 6.
“We’re still exploring things,” says Stetson, letting me know the decision has yet to be made. “We’ll look at all the numbers and see what makes sense for us.”
Many stations are exploring the news option. Even if it doesn’t bring in the numbers that “Oprah” did, a station owns the entire ad inventory during local broadcasts. The news rates in the number four position, yet still make money; as long as the station can sell its ad inventory.
Stetson says WINK does have some other opportunities out there. So folks, we’ll just have to wait and see.
Meanwhile, TV 6 has also locked up “The Lawyers,” if the show gets a go. The concept is similar to “The Doctors,” except for … you guessed it. Stetson says they will learn the show’s fate soon; as producers still need some major market commitments to move forward with the program.
TV 6 will also be home to the daily syndicated “Big Bang Theory” come fall; and the new dating show, “Excused.”
Speaking of NATPE, check out the photo of Stetson and Schwartzel in Miami Beach. Stetson says it looks as if the TV execs convention will likely return to Miami next year.
He also says he hopes they fix the elevator problem by then. With back-to-back meetings during this year’s convention, 28 floors and several towers to compete with, navigating the elevators at the Fountainebleu was a challenge.
Stetson says he waited 25 minutes for one elevator. He rode the service elevator with hotel staff to make another meeting.
Webb promoted at Waterman
Haley Webb has been promoted to manager of weather services for Waterman Broadcasting.
“She has been a revered member of our weather team since 2005. Her loyalty to our team and dedication to our audience has earned her this new position,” said Darrel Lieze-Adams, executive news director and manager of marketing and promotions for Waterman.
Her new role will make her NBC-2’s primetime meteorologist anchoring the 5, 5:30, 6 and 11 p.m. newscasts.
Lieze-Adams says Webb will also take on the responsibilities of helping manage the weather staff for NBC-2 and ABC-7, including scheduling and recruiting.
Haley will return to the air April 11. Until then, Robert Van Winkle will continue to work a split shift.
Many of you have asked why he’s still been on later newscasts, despite his recent move to morning. Well, there you have it.
Thank you to those of you who have sent in your Comcast questions.
Many have been forwarded to the Fort Myers Comcast office for review. We’ll tackle a few of the questions and comments here each week, starting today.
Jim Stahly writes: “I’m a Comcast customer as a homeowner in Illinois and a snowbird in Naples, the last three years as a renter. That has meant renting a router to get good Internet and e-mail service in Naples. I went to the nearest Comcast office, only to find it closed for a federal holiday. A sign in the window declared the office had no equipment on site and gave a local phone number for help.
“No modems available (two in Immokalee, if I wanted to chance them being available the next day and if I wanted to drive there). So they offered to ship one. I took the offer, somewhat miffed. Then got really miffed when I’d be charged $9.95 for the shipment! The service rep eliminated that charge, I guess buying my argument that I wasn’t to blame for the lack of equipment.
“Told the shipment would be five to seven days, I was prepared to use WiFi in the meantime. But the modem arrived in two days. And online setup was incredibly easy.
“Overall, a pleasant experience and a good product, even though the start was a little rough. I was happy the Comcast rep had the authority to waive the shipping charge.”
Jerry from Naples writes: “You quoted a Comcast PR Manager, ‘We have been working diligently to improve our service, products ... ’
“We see it differently. Over the past two years Comcast cable TV has slowly, systematically removed programming from its basic service stations that are in basic service in many parts of the country — Turner Classic Movies, ION, Style, Travel, Fit TV, ABC Family, Discovery HD, ESPN Classic, probably others. Their response: Pay more to upgrade to a higher service level.
“That’s not an improvement in service or products.”
That’s all the time we have for now. Until next week, stay tuned.
Bill Green is a Naples Daily News/naplesnews.com journalist with a secret life as a couch potato. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.