NBC Universal’s talk shows renewed through 2012

No decision on the future of Oprah’s show

A report surfaced on Deadline Hollywood Thursday regarding the future of The Oprah Winfrey Show, which may or may not leave broadcast syndication for Oprah Winfrey’s new cable network, which is being launched by Discovery Networks.

Oprah distributor CBS Television Distribution said the news caught them off guard. 

But a spokesperson from Harpo Productions denies a report that Ms. Winfrey has made up her mind on the show.

But that hasn’t stopped rival syndicators from making deals.

Tribune Broadcasting announced it was renewing three of NBC Universal’s daytime talk shows – Jerry Springer, Maury, and The Steve Wilkos Show – through 2012.

Even though ratings for all three are treading south of 1.5 and often wind-up on a lot of advertiser hit-lists (thanks to groups like the Parents Television Council and the American Family Association), the programs remain profitable – due to the trio moving production facilities to much cheaper digs in Stamford, Conn. Jerry Springer and Steve Wilkos were taped at the NBC Tower in Chicago until last spring.

The move locks up time periods for two more years, keeping rival syndicators out of those slots.

While Maury is on Tribune’s WGN-TV locally, Jerry Springer and Steve Wilkos appear on other outlets, with Jerry on Fox-owned WPWR-TV and Wilkos airing on WCIU-TV. Previously, Wilkos aired on WGN.

So why are the shows being renewed despite so-so numbers? Chalk it up to that NBC Universal philosophy of cheap production + lower ratings = profits – its the excuse they use for the mere existence of The Jay Leno Show.

Meanwhile, Tribune has also renewed five Warner Bros. shows, including Judge Mathis and People’s Court – both which appear locally on WCIU.

As for NBC Universal’s other talk show (The Martha Stewart Show), there is no word on a renewal for next season – it is the lowest-rated talk show currently on the air, with a recent number of 0.6.

Thought: I may get beat up by this guy, but Steve Wilkos is a no-talent assclown. But since NBC Universal is filled with them, I’m not surprised his show got picked up for two more years. Speaking of no-talent assclowns, does this mean Heroes gets renewed for a fifth season as well?