WFLD cancels "The Ten"

WWOR in New York also drops 10 p.m. newscast, but moves it to 11 p.m.

Time’s up for The Ten.

Fox-owned WFLD is dropping its 10 p.m. newscast titled The Ten after two uneventful years and will remove it from its schedule on September 18 (this blog’s birthday.) On September 21, WFLD will air off-network repeats of The Office in the time slot.

In addition to its 10 p.m. airing, The Office will also air in prime access, at 6:30 p.m. replacing Seinfeld, which has aired in the time period on te same station for fourteen years. On September 21st, the classic sitcom shifts to sister station WPWR-TV in the same time period.

Premiering on April 9, 2007, The Ten was an attempt to compete with the three network O&Os for the news audience and those lucrative ad dollars that come with it. Instead, WFLD-TV’s newscast didn’t even come close to competing and was beaten in the ratings by reruns of Family Guy on WGN-Channel 9 and The King of Queens reruns on WCIU. For years, WFLD has had huge success at 10 p.m. with syndicated reruns of The Simpsons, and before that, M*A*S*H.

Recently, WFLD averaged only a 1.4 household rating for its newscast.

Fox had been aggressively expanding its news offerings in many of its markets, including going head-to-head with established network affiliates.

Meanwhile, Fox’s My Network TV in New York (WWOR-TV) has also dropped its longtime 10 p.m. hour-long newscast and is moving it to 11 p.m. and cutting it to a half-hour. WWOR’s newscast had been finishing behind rivals WPIX and sister station WNYW-TV. WWOR is also dropping all weekend newscasts.

Other news cutbacks include CBS-owned WBBM-TV and NBC-owned WTVJ in Miami dropping their weekend morning newscasts.

No other 10 or 11 p.m. newscasts cancellations are planned in other Fox O&O markets.

All of moves are related to the weak advertising marketplace and plummeting revenues due to the recession, which has affected news operations nationwide.

This announcement is among the first of many changes taking place at WFLD. Beginning Monday, the station premieres the new Wendy Williams Show from Debmar-Mercury at 3 p.m. and 12:05 a.m. The show features the outspoken WBLS-FM personality from New York and tested well in four Fox O&O markets last year. Williams is also replacing the WWOR newscast at 10 p.m. beginning Monday, where it will go head-to-head with Jay Leno on WNBC this fall.

WFLD acquired Dr. Oz from Sony Pictures Television to air at 4 p.m. this fall, featuring the doctor whose made appearances on The Oprah Winfrey Show. There were inklings the station was planning to launch a 5 p.m. newscast in September, but no official word has came from the station regarding it.

While Fox stations appear to be cutting back on news, a few are actually adding newscasts: Tribune’s WPIX in New York is on the verge of launching a nightly 6:30 p.m. show to compete with the network newscasts, similar to what sister stations KTLA in Los Angeles and WGN in Chicago (at 5:30 p.m.) have done, while independent KSTC in Minneapolis-St. Paul is adding a 7-to-9 a.m. morning newscast and a 9 p.m. newscast. The newscasts are being produced by ABC affiliate KSTP. Both KSTP and KSTC are owned by Hubbard Broadcasting.

Earlier this week, WCIU announced they were adding news segments to its morning programming block.

Analysis: Initially, WFLD’s 10 p.m. newscast drew some viewers away from WBBM in the 18-49 demo and beat the CBS O&O a few times. But it wasn’t able to sustain itself in the demo in the long-term – especially when WGN started airing Family Guy in the time period. More embrassing, WFLD’s newscasts were being outdrawn by those on Univision’s WGBO-TV, a Spanish-language station.

And for those of you wondering, yes, The Simpsons drew higher ratings at 10 p.m, even though ratings for the show were declining in the time period before it was replaced. It’s not that hard to figure out.