Bill Cunningham officially joins the vast wasteland that’s daytime television
The home of such young female-skewing series such as Gossip Girl, 90210, The Vampire Diaries, and Hart of Dixie, is now home to…
64-year old Bill Cunningham?
In perhaps the oddest pairing ever, the conservative Cincinnati-based radio host is joining a network whose median-age is the youngest of the five broadcast networks (its also the lowest-rated among the five as well.) Beginning in September, The CW has decided to clear The Bill Cunningham Show at 3 p.m., a show that has aired on Tribune-owned stations since September 2011. Many of Tribune’s stations are CW affiliates, including WGN-TV in Chicago, which airs Cunningham at 2 p.m. The moves comes as Tribune was unable to find a syndicator for Cunningham (its own syndication division closed nearly five years ago and is not interested in returning to the business), so it found a sucker in The CW, a network who like Tribune Broadcasting, specializes in making dumb programming decisions (they obviously deserve one another.)
And here’s more odd news: John Kiesewetter of the Cincinnati Enquirer points out Cunningham did better in New York, Chicago, Dallas, and Miami than in his home market of Cincinnati, where he hosts a daily show on WLW-AM.
With Cunningham taking over the lone daytime hour slot, CW has canceled Dr. Drew’s Lifechangers, effective in September. However, the Dr. Drew Pinsky-hosted series could be moved into syndication, cable, or to another broadcast network since Warner Bros. produces the show. Warner did this with Judge Jeanne Pirro’s court show, which shifted to syndication from CW in 2009 after a two-year run to make room for Tyra Banks’ talk show, which aired in first-run syndication for four years (Pirro was canceled at the end of the 2010-11 season.)
Currently, ABC’s The Revolution – which replaced long-running soap One Life To Live on January 16 – is having a tough go of it, down as much as 50 percent from its predecessor in key demos and households and is also down from its Chew lead-in. If ABC cancels The Revolution, Lifechangers could step in. However, the show is produced by Warner and not ABC, and that scenario might not be likely.
As for Cunningham, his New York-based conflict talker fits in with Tribune’s schlock lineup of talkers – including Jerry Springer and Maury Povich – both who are over the age of 55 (with Povich at 72.) But its CW that’s picking up the show – and the deal creates some odd moves, including Cunningham shifting off some Tribune stations. In Philadelphia for example, Tribune-owned WPHL-TV loses the show to CBS’ WPSG – a CW affiliate, which airs no conflict talkers. In Sacramento, CBS’ KMAX takes Cunningham away from Tribune’s KTXL, a Fox affiliate, while in Grand Rapids, Mich., Tribune’s Fox affiliate WXMI loses Cunningham to a subchannel of CBS affiliate WWMT, which runs CW programming.
For Tribune, the move also frees up an hour for more syndicated fare since Cunningham is moving to CW (which means more Maury. Whee!)
If anyone watched Bill Cunningham’s test shows in July 2010 – an audience and critical failure – this program never should have seen the light of day (remember how Cunningham got the gig in the first place – his connection to Randy “Court Jester” Michaels when he was CEO of Tribune.) Instead, The CW – which itself has made one bad decision after another since being created from a merger between UPN and WB – picks up this abomination of a talk show. Perfect, given most of their programming in prime-time doesn’t achieve above a 1.0 rating while CBS, Warner Bros., Tribune, and Sinclair Broadcasting keep throwing money into this sinking hellhole of a network. I won’t even talk about Tribune – they have their own set of bad executives making bad decisions.
Now they want to waste money on Bill Cunningham – a 64-year old man who most in CW’s key demos don’t even recognize. What else do you expect from a business that rewards failure and penalizes success? With crap like Chew and Revolution (still don’t know what this show is even all about) and the Jeremy Kyle show garbage getting renewed with a 0.5 rating, daytime TV is becoming a joke – so much so, I’m not sure that talented individuals like Steve Harvey or Ricki Lake can save it.
Yours truly would never thought he’d say this, but Oprah Winfrey is actually missed in daytime (but you knew that already, right?)
It was former FCC Chairman Newt Minnow that declared TV a wasteland 51 years ago. Little did he know his words would be applied to daytime television in 2012.