T Dog’s Grab Bag: Merlin Media sells NYC station to CBS

Today’s Grab Bag features Merlin Media, Friday prime-time ratings, Tyler Perry and Oprah Winfrey hooking up, and a possible new name for The Insider which you have to see to believe:

It looks like the end is near for Merlin Media: the company announced the sale of New York City alternative rock outlet WRXP-FM to CBS Corp., who plans to flip the station to all-sports, following ESPN’s move to 97.5 FM last summer. Beginning sometime next month, CBS plans to simulcast WFAN-AM (660) on the 101.9 FM frequency, and may become the flagship station for the new planned CBS Sports Radio Network. The New York Yankees’ desire for an FM outlet also seems to be a drive for the move as their contract with WCBS-AM is up after this season (CBS owns WCBS and WFAN.)

WRXP recently returned to the alternative format a year after a disastrous stint with an all-news format, which was pulled at the same time WIQI’s was here in Chicago. In typical Merlin fashion, WRXP pulled the plug on its Twitter and Facebook page late Monday afternoon. The sale of WRXP once again leaves The Big Apple without an alternative rock outlet.

Merlin CEO Randy Michaels plans to keep its two Chicago stations (including the one it operates through a local management agreement) and lone Philadelphia station, but we all know anything The Court Jester says is worth its weight in gold.

– Friday ratings: even though ABC’s Shark Tank won the night among the broadcast networks adults 18-49 but MLB’s new postseason wild card round was a hit in the ratings, drawing an average of 4.6 million viewers for TBS, with the Baltimore Orioles-Texas Rangers matchup earning a 4.1 household rating in primetime, while the St. Louis Cardinals-Atlanta Braves game earning a 3.3.

CBS drew the most viewers with CSI: NY and Blue Bloods, but Made In Jersey was a dud with a 0.8 demo rating and just 6.7 million viewers.

– Tyler Perry signed a deal last week with Oprah Winfrey’s OWN Network to exclusively develop scripted sitcoms for the struggling cable channel. This comes as Perry’s deal with TBS is winding down, as his sitcoms (House Of Payne, Meet The Browns) were pushed from Wednesday nights to Friday nights to make room for Big Bang Theory reruns. Currently, For Better Or For Worse (which also airs on Friday nights) is the only Tyler Perry show on TBS currently in production.

– The Insider to be renamed what? According to an article in Broadcasting and Cable, CBS Television Distribution is in talks with Yahoo to rename nine-year old magazine show The Insider to omg NOW! That’s right, you heard me – omg NOW. The plan is to revamp the Entertainment Tonight spin-off to boost the series’ sagging ratings, which airs in access on many CBS-owned stations (in Chicago, Insider airs at 6 pm on WCIU) and to attract the abbreviation generation, aka adults 18-34 who use social media. Yours truly has no problem with a name change, but omg NOW? LOL, what a stupid name.

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