Syndication shakeup: Queen Latifah in, Anderson Cooper out

Also: Wheel and Jeopardy! renewed by WLS-TV, other ABC O&Os until 2016

It’s not even the end of October, and already seeing some major shakeups in daytime syndication for next fall:

– In news first reported by Deadline, CBS’ owned-and-operated station group has picked up Queen Latifah’s new talk show from Sony Pictures Television for September 2013, clearing sixteen markets, marketing the first-ever major purchase by CBS from the syndicator since Sony re-entered the first-run business in 1993 (as Columbia Pictures TV.) While CBS and Sony declined to name markets or stations, it is understood Latifah cleared WBBM-TV here in Chicago. While no official announcement was made, Laftiah would likely replace ratings-challenged The Jeff Probst Show at 2 p.m. Probst has been beaten in the ratings by fellow freshman talker Steve Harvey on WMAQ-TV; Inside Edition/Jeopardy! on WLS-TV; and Judge Mathis on WCIU. Nationally, Probst has been averaging around a 0.7 household rating.

If Probst stays on the air for a second season (CBS Television Distribution has two-year contracts for the show), the critically-panned show could get bumped to a post-12:30 a.m. time slot.

Queen Latifah (whose real name is Dana Owens), had a syndicated talk show distributed by Warner Bros. Domestic Television from 1999-2001, and ran locally over WCIU. Known early in her career as a hip-hop artist, Queen Latifah won a Grammy in 1995 for Best Solo Rap Performance with U.N.I.T.Y. She successfully crossed over to another musical genre with a Grammy nomination in 2005 for Best Jazz Vocal Album with The Dana Owens Album.

Latifah’s new show – which mixes in celebrity interviews with positive, uplifting stories – is being produced by Overbrook Entertainment (headed by Will and Jada Pinkett Smith), and by Latifah’s Flavor Unit Entertainment¬† (her production company also produced her 1999-2001 talk show.)

– What comes in, must come out: Warner Bros. announced earlier Monday the cancellation of Anderson Cooper’s daytime talk show (Anderson Live) after two seasons. Anderson, which overhauled its format and its set for its second season, had been a ratings and critical disappointment, averaging around a 1.0 household rating last season and averaging the same rating so far this season. Carried by some Fox O&Os (including the Fox duopoly here), Anderson’s fate was sealed when Fox purchased Bethenny Frankel’s show for 2013, which is also from Warner Bros. Cooper still has his gigs on CNN and on 60 Minutes.

Production of Anderson Live ends in March, but you don’t have to wait to see Anderson Cooper in his new role – driving the T Dog Media Cancellation Bus.

– Oprah may be long gone, but two longtime stalwarts will remain on stations’ lineup remain for two more seasons: ABC’s owned-and-operated stations (including WLS-TV here in Chicago) have re-upped Wheel Of Fortune and Jeopardy! through the 2015-16 season. Both series remain in the top five among all syndicated shows, a position they’ve held for nearly thirty years. The deal takes Wheel through its 33rd season (and its 41st year altogether, as it began as a network daytime show in 1975), and Jeopardy! through its 32nd. Much like The Simpsons (now in its 24th season), Wheel and Jeopardy will outlive us all!

Despite shifting to an earlier 2:30 p.m. time slot to make room for Katie Couric’s talk show,¬† Jeopardy! regularly tops its time period handily for WLS. The deal covers seven of the eight ABC-owned stations currently airing the shows; Houston’s ABC-owned station (KTRK) is not included in the deal; both game shows air on CBS affiliate KHOU instead.

For some fun facts on Wheel and Jeopardy!, click here, and scroll down a bit (a few of those facts are dated – the CBC in Canada no longer carries either show.)

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