Rosie is over and out; Canadian media consolidates further; and other items of note
A lot of items to cover in this week’s Grab bag:
In a move that was speculated for some time, struggling cable network OWN finally canceled The Rosie Show after five months on the air. The series’ future was questioned after Rosie O’Donnell sold her Lakeview home and decided to move herself and the show to New York from Harpo Studios in Chicago. After premiering with an average of 500,000 viewers in its premiere week, the series – which had undergone a number of format changes – has recently been averaging 150,000 viewers. Rosie ends March 30.
-Also disappearing from the airwaves – at least locally in Chicago – and for good this time – is Delilah, WLIT’s sappy syndicated evening show, as the Clear Channel-owned station dumped the show last week. As you recall, Delilah returned to WLIT in October 2008 after a previous cancellation during a week that also saw Mancow Muller also return to the Chicago airwaves via WLS-AM with Pat Cassidy, which was canned two years later. (Mancow however, is still polluting the airwaves at WJJG-AM with his daily syndicated show.)
– The Monday night fights are here: The first night results are here in the highly anticipated showdown between NBC’s The Voice and ABC’s Dancing With the Stars. While Dancing had a huge edge in the overnight household ratings (which weighs toward older audiences in larger markets like Chicago, where Dancing always dominates) and in total viewers (18.47 million to 11.76 million), The Voice came out on top in the key adults 18-49 demo (4.5 to 3.5.) But when it came to social media, Dancing actually had the edge as subjects related to the show trended all night long. Whether if you’re a fan of one or the other – or neither (put me in the third camp), this ratings battle is still interesting to watch (and in case you’re wondering what yours truly watched Monday during this time, it was a rerun of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit.)
– There is no doubt U.S. media companies are watching this: last Friday, Toronto-based Bell Media and Montreal-based Astral Media announced a $3.38 billion (Cdn) deal which would become the biggest media merger in Canadian history. Bell owns broadcaster CTV; cable networks TSN, Fashion Television, and Space; 27 local TV stations, including CTV-owned CFTO Toronto and CIVT Vancouver; 33 radio stations (including four Windsor, Ont. stations that can be easily heard in neighboring Detroit); and owns or co-owns 30 cable networks. Astral is Canada’s largest radio broadcaster with 83 stations; Astral also owns 17 specialty cable channels (including Teletoon and Disney Junior) and an outdoor business. Media watchdog groups were already screaming mad as soon as the announcement was made. The Canadian Radio-Television Commission (CRTC) must approve the deal and likely will force the divestiture of a few properties in order to comply with regulations.
Media companies in the U.S. will no doubt be watching this deal unfold as they are preparing to ask for more regulatory relief from the FCC regarding cross-ownership rules and station ownership caps. Already, recent court rulings have sacked relaxed media ownership rules.
– And one of those companies watching is Baltimore-based Sinclair Broadcasting, which owns stations in downstate Champaign (ABC affiliate WICD), Springfield (ABC affiliate WICS), and Peoria (Fox affiliate WYZZ, which is operated by Nexstar Broadcasting.) According to this week’s issue of Broadcasting & Cable, Sinclair chief David Smith is looking to purchase more TV stations – they are already the eighth-largest owner in the business, has a new focus on local news, and acquiring more syndicated fare at reasonable prices. Its WBFF flagship Fox affiliate in Baltimore is the market’s third-ranked news operation, easily outdistancing ABC affiliate WMAR-TV (owned by Scripps, which is also based in Baltimore.)
– Sports business/media columnist Ed Sherman is cutting back his duties at Crain’s Chicago Business to launch his own website at ShermanReport.com. Sherman plans to report on both local and national sports stories. While the former Chicago Tribune sports reporter is ending his Business of Sports blog at ChicagoBusiness.com, he will continue to report on golf and the Business of Sports Video Series for the site.