In what looks like a first step in making over its daytime schedule, Tribune has purchased a new first-run strip titled Crime Watch Daily, scheduled to debut next fall from Warner Bros. Domestic Television Distribution.
The program is being targeted not only for daytime, but also for early fringe (late afternoon) time periods.
According to the distributor, Crime Watch would go after “the bad guys”, blow the lid off scandals and seek justice for victims. Crime Watch would use its network of “local newsrooms” carrying the show to report on stories all across the country.
The menu includes unsolved murders, undercover investigations, missing persons, and videos of caught-on-camera crimes.
While there has been shows of this type of genre in syndication before (remember Crimewatch Tonight and Crime Stoppers 800, two failed entries from 1989?), nothing has been done on this type of scale.
Straight from the press release, here’s Warner’s Ken Warner on the show’s potential: “There is a terrific opportunity in early fringe leading into local news as well as in daytime to capture an audience who are longing for distinctive, addictive and real life storytelling. As we’ve seen on cable and in other dayparts, audiences have an insatiable appetite for real life investigations and crime stories, which by their nature are filled with mystery, intrigue and human drama. We believe both affiliate and independent stations will embrace this unique opportunity.”
Crime Watch cleared 29 markets in the Tribune Broadcasting Group, covering 42 percent of the country, including WGN-TV in Chicago and in markets as large as New York (WPIX) and as small as Ft. Smith, Ark. (KFSM). Two months ago, Tribune indicated it may move away from trash TV shows such as Jerry Springer and Maury, which have spent more than a decade on most of Tribune’s stations.
A likely slot for Crime Watch in Chicago would either be at 10 a.m. or at 3 p.m., where either way, it would lead-in to local news. (WGN recently launched a 4 p.m. newscast.)
Crime Watch is being produced in Los Angeles by Telepictures Productions, and is the first series officially announced for the fall 2015 syndication season.