Tribune meets with syndicators

Recently, The Tribune station group invited almost every syndicator in the business – CBS Television Distribution, Disney/ABC Domestic Television, Program Partners, and more – to discuss new programming strategies with new Tribune COO Randy Michaels in its Tribune Tower offices in Chicago. The station group is considering overhauling its’ daytime lineup – or at least stepping back from the fare they have on their schedules now.

Currently, Tribune sublets five hours of programming a day to NBC Universal on most of its stations – featuring The Steve Wilkos Show and double-runs of The Jerry Springer Show and Maury (in Chicago, it’s only three – Springer airs on Fox-owned WPWR-TV.)

Ratings for both Jerry and Maury have declined over the years, and while both programs still perform well enough to stay on stations’ schedules, revenue derived from the shows are lower than other daytime programming in the marketplace because because of their controversial content – for example, it’s not uncommon to have fights on Jerry three or four times an episode. Since the Janet Jackson episode at Super Bowl 38, marketers have been increasingly weary about placing ads in decidedly more raunchy fare.

Tribune is looking to move toward more mainstream court, talk, and local programming – which brings in traditional advertisers and more importantly – more dollars.