The Grab Bag: “Wendy Williams” renewed through 2014

Wendy Williams has gotten a new lease on life on her syndicated talk show: Debmar-Mercury announced Monday that the three-season old daytime talk show strip has been renewed by Fox O&Os currently carrying the show through 2014, including WFLD-TV, which airs the show at 10 a.m. and at midnight.

Williams has been stronger in markets with large African-American audiences such as New York, Atlanta, and Chicago. In New York, Wendy Williams is the top-rated program on WNYW among women 25-54 for the entire broadcast day (excluding primetime.)

It’s becoming a trend – another WMAQ anchor leaves for a New York gig. This time, its 4:30 a.m. anchor Zoraida Somblin, who is leaving the NBC-owned station for a position with CNN. A few weeks ago, meteorologist Ginger Zee left the station for ABC’s Good Morning America. You can’t blame them – would you want to work for a network who is home to such crap as Whitney and the fourth hour of the Today show? Both Somblin and Zee were probably afraid Comcast would make them climb those poles and fix cable outages or worst, appear on The Sing-Off.

Speaking of Comcast… Thanks to the NBA lockout, Chicago pro basketball fans will be stuck with… reruns. Comcast SportsNet plans to air Chicago Bulls Classics featuring the one and only Michael Jordan (who else?) The regional sports network plans to air fifteen weeks of classic games beginning on November 2 which includes all six Bulls NBA Championship-clinchers¬† and Jordan’s best games, including two buzzer-beating, playoff-eliminating games against the Cleveland Cavaliers (with all the hatred Cleveland has toward LeBron, its hard to believe Jordan was once the city’s villain.)

All games are scheduled to air at 7:30 p.m. through February 6, or until the NBA lockout ends – whichever comes first, though at this point – its likely February 6.

– If you’re hoping to catch CBS’ How To Be A Gentlemen on Saturday nights, you’re out of luck. After moving the now-canceled series to Saturday after two disastrous Thursday airings, the future T Dog Media TV Hall Of Shame inductee has been yanked off the air for good. Of course, if this was an NBC show, it would have been picked up for four more seasons.

– Shifting to radio, news director Dave Williams has exited troubled all-news station WWWN-FM after only a few months. Williams has worked in journalism for more than 40 years, mostly on Sacramento and Los Angeles radio, where he won numerous awards throughout his career, including several Golden Mikes. Williams is moving back to the Los Angeles area, where his family still resides. Best wishes – its too bad it didn’t work out here for him in Chicago.

– In a major urban radio shake-up in Detroit, Urban Adult Contemporary WGPR-FM (107.5) was taken over by Radio One via an local marketing agreement Monday and is expected to move the Urban Contemporary format from its WHTD-FM (102.7) on Wednesday to WGPR while launching a Gospel format in its place (there are no changes planned for Radio One’s other station in the Motor City, Urban AC WDMK-FM, 105.9).¬† The Radio One takeover somewhat marks the end of an era in Detroit radio – WGPR was owned and operated by The International Free and Accepted Modern Masons for 47 years. While the Masons continue to own WGPR and hold the broadcast license, Radio One is assuming the day-to-day operations of the station via LMA – similar to a setup in Atlanta involving Meredith and WPCH-TV, in which the WGCL-TV owner is operating WPCH in lieu of Turner Broadcasting, which still owns the station.

In the most recent PPM survey, WGPR finished in 21st place, far behind competitors WDMK and Clear Channel-owned WMXD-FM.

WGPR was once co-owned with WGPR-TV, which signed on as the first black-owned television station in the U.S. in 1975. In 1994, WGPR became a CBS affiliate thanks to the Fox-New World deal, which sent New World’s WJBK-TV from CBS to Fox. A year later, CBS purchased WGPR and changed the call letters to WWJ-TV.

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