Meredith Vieira kicks off 2014-15 syndie season

Meredith Vieira. (Photo by: Heidi Gutman/NBCU)

Meredith Vieira. (Photo by: Heidi Gutman/NBCU)

After a season which saw several syndicated talk shows (The Test, Bethenny, Arsenio Hall, Katie, and Trisha) get canceled, this season boasts only two new shows – one of them debuted Monday.

NBCUniversal Television Distribution’s The Meredith Vieira Show is the first one out of the gate in syndication, premiered today at 1 p.m. on WMAQ-TV in a ten-station NBC O&O deal. In addition, several ABC affiliates who previously aired Katie replaced her with Meredith, such as WCVB in Boston, KSTP in Minneapolis-St.Paul, and WISN in Milwaukee.

The former View and Millionaire host and 60 Minutes correspondent has her own band, and the set is modeled just like her house (audience members must wipe their feet before coming in.)

Next Monday (Sept. 15) is the debut of another new talker, Warner Bros.’ The Real, airing at 11 a.m. on Fox-owned WFLD in a eighteen-station Fox deal. Tested on a few Fox O&Os last year, The Real features five women of ethnic backgrounds discussing numerous topics.

Here’s what else you will see in syndication this fall. All shows start September 15 unless otherwise noted:

– Court, Court and More Court. Despite the departure of Judge Alex and We The People With Gloria Allred, courtroom shows are stronger than ever, with the premieres of three new shows. From the producers of Judge Judy is Hot Bench (WCIU, 5 a.m.; U Too, 11 a.m.), which uses three judges to determine cases. Three! Debuting on Sept. 22 is Trifecta Entertainment’s Judge Faith (U Too, 11:30 a.m., 9 p.m., 9:30 p.m.), featuring former New York City prosecutor and attorney Faith Jenkins.

And look who’s back… after being disposed by Divorce Court years ago is Judge Mablean, who back with a courtroom show for Entertainment Studios (U Too, Noon.)

– Game show junction. In addition to Debmar-Mercury with Celebrity Name Game (debuts Sept. 22 on WGN-TV at 10 a.m., 10:30 a.m. and 10 p.m.), is the debut of Let’s Ask America with host Bill Bellamy (U Too, 12:30 p.m., 2:00 a.m.), which aired last season on several Scripps-owned stations.

In addition, Name Game landed a key prime access time slot in New York (WPIX, 7:30 p.m.)

– More off-net comedies. Yes, there are more off-network sitcoms (or actually coming off a broadcast network) than in recent years, with four shows debuting this fall – but none of the “A-list” like The Big Bang Theory. WCIU has landed three of them: Twentieth’s Raising Hope (9:30 p.m.); off-TVLand Hot In Cleveland (5:30 p.m. and midnight), and Disney-ABC’s Cougar Town (starts Sept. 22 at 4 p.m. on U Too and 2:30 a.m. on WCIU.)

Also making its debut on Sept. 22 is FX’s Anger Management, airing locally on WPWR (yours truly was unable to obtain showtimes at press time.)

– More drama on the weekend. WBBM is adding CBS Television Distribution’s Good Wife and Blue Bloods to its Saturday and Sunday late night schedule respectively (11pm-1am), replacing Criminal Minds and CSI: Miami.  Meanwhile, WLS-TV is moving Castle to Saturday nights and adding Scandal to its late night Sunday lineup. Scandal replaces Private Practice in syndication.

WCIU is adding a pair of first-run dramas to its schedule: CBC/City TV crime drama Murdoch Mysteries (U Too, Saturdays and Sundays at 6 p.m.) and The Pinkertons, which is scheduled for a 2 a.m. Sunday morning slot on WCIU. Put on the coffee!

– Other schedule changes. In addition to WLS re-establishing its core 2-4 p.m. lineup (which also included acquiring Rachael Ray to air at 1 p.m.), WCIU is adding an extra hour to You & Me This Morning; syndicated weekly sports gabfest In Depth With Graham Bensinger shifted on Sept. 7 from WMAQ to WFLD/WPWR; WGN-TV adding a 4 p.m. weekday newscast, and WPWR adding another hour to its Family Feud block, meaning four episodes back-to-back-to-back-to-back from 5 to 7 every weeknight!

Perhaps the biggest change is yet another episode reduction of The Simpsons from the local schedule, which at one point aired three times a day on WFLD to now airing only at 9:30 p.m. on WPWR (at this point, the best way to watch Simpsons reruns on FXX.)

– And the rest. Other new shows on local schedules include blooper show What Went Down (Saturdays at 3 p.m and 3:30 p.m. on WGN-TV); and The Conspiracy Show With Richard Syrett (Sunday morning, 1:30 a.m. on U Too.) Folks, you can’t make shows like this up.)

What’s Out:

Aside from what’s already been mentioned, other shows not returning this fall include Access Hollywood Live, pushed out by Meredith Vieira’s talk show on the NBC O&Os (Access Hollywood continues in production) and Trifecta’s newsmagazine America Now. Both ended their runs on Friday.

Locally, WCIU has dropped The Queen Latifah Show, but remains at 2 p.m. on CBS-owned WBBM-TV.

Other series not returning to syndication this fall includes That ’70’s Show, ‘Til Death, Cash Cab, Cold Case Files, Bloopers, and Beer Geeks.

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