Why you may ask? The former 60 Minutes correspondent and Who Wants To Be A Millionaire host’s show received yet another downgrade Friday when ABC affiliate WCVB in Boston announced it was shaking up its early fringe lineup, moving Ellen from 4 p.m. to 3 p.m. to make room for another hour of news.
As a result, Meredith is shifting to 2:05 a.m. in the nation’s seventh-largest market.
A spot check done by yours truly on Meredith Vieira’s website shows at least 15 markets airing the show in overnight or early-morning hours, ranging from a 2 a.m. slot on Pittsburgh Fox affiliate WPGH and on NBC affiliate WSFA in Montgomery, Ala. to a 2:37 a.m. slot on WTHR in Indianapolis to 6 a.m. on WLMT in Memphis. The late-night/early morning clearances are not helping its national rating.
In bigger markets, the show has better slots, but is underperforming. Meredith as you would guessed, is cleared primarily on NBC-owned stations, including WMAQ-TV in Chicago. Airing at 1 p.m., the show has finished behind Maury and Tyra Banks’ new lifestyle show The FAB Life, itself having ratings problems as the New York Post reported Friday.
In the most recent syndication ratings report, Meredith has a 0.9 household rating, essentially flat from the previous week and not much change from a year ago (women 25-54 numbers were not available.) The show would had to improve in the ratings to at least have a shot at a third season.
How bad is it? Vieira’s show is tied with Trifecta Entertainment’s Judge Faith, a program cleared on mostly independents/CW affiliates as opposed to Vieira’s mostly network affiliate clientele.
Midway through its first season, Meredith introduced a panel segment titled What’s Hot Now, gabbing about the hottest trend of the moment, or whatever. To say it’s not working is a huge understatement. Yours truly has seen a recent episode (a same-day rerun at 1:35 a.m.), and the program is kind of drab and not really interesting. For Christ’s sake, Meredith is having John Edward on Thursday, the one who did a show over ten years ago called Crossing Over. John Edward?
No decision has been made for a third season of Meredith, but it’s looking unlikely. With the FOX-owned stations acquiring NBCUniversal’s Harry Connick Jr.’s show for next season, NBC once again will have to look to fill a time slot. Is Access Hollywood Live still on the air? It’s not on in Chicago at the moment, but a return could be possible.