Media Notepad: Blackhawks begin holy grail to the Stanley Cup

Also: WCIU has another prime-time stand up comedy special; Dateline NBC to enter syndication this fall

(Editor’s Note: This story has been updated with new information.)

The Chicago Blackhawks begin their quest for their seventh Stanley Cup Thursday night when they drop the puck against the Nashville Predators in the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. With the popular Blackhawks in the playoffs, NBC is televising Game 2 in prime-time Saturday night at 7 p.m. local time and possibly Game 5 the following Saturday night, if necessary.

Meanwhile, NBC SN carried Game 1 Thursday night at 7 p.m., where the Blackhawks lost 1-0 to the Preds. Game 3 takes place in Nashville Tuesday night at 8:30 p.m. and Game 4 Thursday, April 20 at 7 p.m.

Locally, CSN Chicago has rights to the first round of the series (except Game 2), but blackout restrictions on NBC’s cable partners have been lifted, meaning you have a choice between the national announcers or the hometown call. In addition, CSN Chicago plans extended pre- and post-game shows hosted by Pat Boyle and former Blackhawks players Steve Konroyd and Jamal Mayers. CSN Chicago, NBC, NBCSN, and CNBC are all owned by NBCUniversal.

On the radio side, WGN-AM will carry all Chicago Blackhawks games, for as long as they are in the playoffs.

For schedule information updates, follow T Dog Media on Twitter @tdogmedia (and if you’re not following…you should!)

The Edmonton Oilers play the Toronto Maple Leafs  from November 1, 2016. (Nathan Denette/Canadian Press)

Speaking of the Stanley Cup playoffs, no one is looking forward to them than Canada’s Rogers Communications and public broadcaster CBC. After no Canadian team made the playoffs in 2016, there are five teams from the Great White North this year, including the storied Toronto Maple Leafs (making their first appearance since 2013) and the 24-time Stanley Cup winning Montreal Canadiens. In 2016, Rogers-owned SportsNet and the CBC saw their Stanley Cup Playoffs decline as much as 50 percent from 2015’s playoffs. With those teams back in the playoffs – led by hot rookies Connor McDavid of the Edmonton Oilers and Toronto’s Auston Matthews, ratings – and revenues – are certain to rise.

Currently, Rogers is in the midst of a twelve-year deal with the NHL to carry games. The communications giant buys time on CBC on Saturday nights, home to Hockey Night In Canada for decades in a deal which was recently extended for a fifth year.

NBCUniversal Television Distribution announced Wednesday it was launching Dateline NBC into off-network syndication beginning this fall, simply titled Dateline. This follows the announcement of Daily Mail TV, which was made late last month, taking place months after the NATPE convention took place.

Details were quite vague; NBCUniversal would only say the series “is cleared in 80 percent of the country” and listed a handful of station groups. No markets or stations were announced and no terms (cash-barter or barter or length of contract) were released, only to say stations would be allowed to double-run the show. The Programming Insider did say Dateline was being released into “off-network syndication”.

“Dateline is the most successful true crime franchise in all of television, and we are very excited to bring it to the broadcast marketplace as a Monday-Friday strip,” said Sean O’Boyle, Executive Vice President of NBCUniversal Television Distribution. “With each episode, viewers are riveted by compelling crime stories told by award-winning correspondents, wrapped in a high-quality production. Our partner stations believe in the true crime genre and have been very supportive in adding “Dateline” to their lineups.”

Reruns of repackaged news shows have had little success in syndication: Twentieth Television sold America’s Most Wanted: Final Justice but didn’t do well during the 1995-96 season and Buena Vista Television’s attempt to sell Unsolved Mysteries in syndication stalled, though it did find a home on Lifetime. Recently, repackaged Dateline shows have aired on OWN, E!, TLC, Discovery ID, and the former Cloo.

The last time NBC News produced a show for syndication (but was distributed by another syndicator due to the fin-syn rules at the time) was the weekly history series Memories: Then And Now, which aired from 1990-92.

Weigel’s WCIU is airing another local half-hour special featuring Chicago area’s hottest comedians. Titled Chicago’s One-Night Stand Up and hosted by Rebecca O’Neal, the second installment features performances by Reena Calm, Calvin Evans, and Pat McGann.

Stand Up airs Saturday (April 15) at 7 p.m. and once again originates from Zaines Comedy Club in northwest suburban Rosemont.

“We were so pleased with the success of the original special that it prompted us to go straight to series,” said WCIU local programming chief Steve Bailey. “Chicago is home to some of the nation’s most brilliant and diverse comedians, and we’re excited to showcase their talents on our station.”

WCIU aired the first special last December 31, on New Year’s Eve. The station plans to air more specials this spring.