In what qualifies to be the kiss of death of any new show, NBC Universal’s new Megan Mulually talk show has been downgraded at NBC-owned KNBC-TV in Los Angeles yesterday. The program, which features the former Will & Grace star, lost its key 4pm time slot and has been moved to noon. A local newscast which aired at this time, has now been moved to 4pm. This marks the first time since 2002 that KNBC has carried news at 4pm.
Between 2002 and 2005, Dr. Phil aired in that time slot, but in September of last year, the show moved to crosstown KCBS-TV.
Earlier, fellow NBC-owned counterpart WNBC-TV in New York City moved Megan from an afternoon slot to a late morning slot. The show was also downgraded at Media General’s Columbus (Ohio) NBC station, WCMH-TV.
A downgrade in either New York or Los Angeles or both pretty much kills any syndicated show, as both markets are No. 1 and No. 2 respectively in market size, according to Nielsen Media Research.
Ratings are clearly the culprit. In Los Angeles over five weeks, Megan dropped 27% from its Ellen lead-in, while it was off 60% from Ellen year-ago ratings performance.
Nationally, the program trails other freshmen syndicated talk shows, including Rachael Ray.
Here in Chicago, the program airs at noon on WMAQ-TV, where it is being hammered in the ratings by soap operas and noon newscasts.