What’s new for syndication this fall

“The Jennifer Hudson Show” debuts today on Fox 32 at 11 a.m. and in various time periods on over 100 other stations

Drastically different schedules begins today

(Editor’s Note: This post was updated on September 17.)

There are a ton of changes in television outside of prime-time with the new season beginning today.

For one, there is no more Ellen DeGeneres as she danced off the stage last spring while Maury Povich and his paternity tests retired to Florida, leaving us with reruns. As of today, we get several new talk shows, a game show, and a true crime program.

More often than not, stations across the country are starting new local newscasts today, including CBS 2 (WBBM-TV), replacing syndicated programming – namely Ellen.  

The three new talkers are personalities who bring a lot of credentials to the table: one is a EGOT winner; another is a well-established actress; another is a LGBTQ member who appeared in Queer Eye (Karamo Brown). And here’s something else all three have in common: they’re all African-American.

And there was no need to hire new personnel as many are actually holdovers from their previous predecessors – Jennifer Hudson is using much of Ellen’s staff, including its old studio on the Warner Bros. lot; Sherri Sheppard, who filled in for Wendy Williams during her last few months is also using staff from her show and her old New York City studios; and NBCUniversal’s Syndication Studios’ Karamo is inheriting Maury’s old studio and staff based in Connecticut. 

Here in Chicago, all three shows have viable time slots – beginning today, Fox 32 (WFLD) is pairing Debmar-Mercury’s Sherri (10 a.m.) with hometown girl Jennifer Hudson at 11 a.m. as neither show is being double-run on sister station My 50 (WPWR) for the time being. Meanwhile, Karamo is set on Weigel’s CW 26 (WCIU) at noon and at 4 a.m. starting September 19.

The lone new game show is the revival of Pictionary, which expands nationally after being tested on several Fox-owned stations last year. Starting today, the game show airs weekdays at 3 and 3:30 p.m. on My 50. Airing in syndication twice before – the last during the 1997-98 season (on WPWR no less), it’s hosted by Jerry O’Connell, who himself starred in his first regular TV role in a first-run syndicated series, MCA TV’s My Secret Identity (another former WPWR show) from 1988-91. MCA (now NBC Universal Syndication Studios) also syndicated the first version of Pictionary as a children’s game show strip in 1989. 

In an unusual circumstance, Trifecta Entertainment’s new iCRIME with Elizabeth Vargas is not only airing on CW 26 at 6 a.m. and The U (WCUU) at 3 p.m., but also airing at 11:30 p.m. weeknights on My50, all starting September 12. While iCRIME secured a 2 p.m. weekday clearance on WPIX New York, the show is regulated to weekends at Fox’s duopoly of KTTV and KCOP in Los Angeles in a variety of time slots, which isn’t exactly good.

Only two new off-network sitcom strips are debuting this fall: Paramount Global’s The Neighborhood replaces the exiting-from-syndication Mike & Molly at 6 and 6:30 p.m. on CW 26 and Disney Media Distribution’s American Housewife as the former ABC series takes the 11 p.m. and 11:30 p.m. slots from the also exiting-from-syndication 2 Broke Girls on the same station.

Another new series (Ring Nation) is set to debut on September 26 as syndicator MGM has sold the show in 60 markets including an unidentified Chicago station. We’ll have more once the local outlet is known (Update: The U begins airing “Ring Nation” at 11:30 a.m. starting Sept. 26.)

“Maury’s” ended production but lives on thru reruns forever via CW 26.

Same faces, new places

The biggest move is the shift of off-network syndicated episodes of Dateline from My50 to NBC-owned WMAQ, from sister company NBCUniversal Syndication Studios where it’ll air weekdays at 1 p.m., pushing another NBCUSS property, Access Daily to 2 p.m., now retitled Access Daily With Mario & Kit, as in co-hosts Mario Lopez and Kit Hoover leading-in to the already relocated Kelly Clarkson Show at 3. Dateline is moving to NBC-owned stations in other markets, too including WNBC New York and WRC Washington, D.C.

Another is Maury, who’ll remain on the air in post-2012 reruns in long-term deals with stations. In Chicago, Maury is shifting from its’ longtime WGN-TV home (which was part of the station’s afternoon lineup since January 1993) to CW 26, where it’ll air at 11 a.m. and 3 a.m. Replacing Maury on WGN at 2 p.m. starting today are reruns of Lauren Lake’s former show Paternity Court from MGM, which gets a better time slot than her new series, the Entertainment Studios-syndicated We The People With Lauren Lake, airing at 6:30 a.m. on CW 26.

Chicago P.D. returns to weekday syndication with a primetime home on The U at 8.p.m. weeknights. Chicago P.D. is also airing Sundays on CW 26 from noon-5 p.m. (Chicago P.D. is remaining on My Network TV and Ion.)

As mentioned here in April, The Drew Barrymore Show is being split into two separate half-hours as many CBS-owned stations (including CBS 2 here) are taking the first half-hour and chucking the second half-hour…somewhere else. For example, the second airing is on at 6:30 a.m. in Philadelphia and 3:30 a.m. in Dallas-Forth on CBS’ duopoly stations. One station (WKCF Orlando) decided to take just the first half-hour and not even air the second. As you can tell, this is a recipe for disaster. Been nice knowing ya, Drew.

Reruns of the recent “Magnum P.I.” revival begin next weekend in syndication. (CBS)

Weekends

For the first time in several years, there are numerous off-network dramas coming into the marketplace. ABC-owned WLS-TV is slotting Disney’s The Rookie (Sat. 11 p.m. and midnight, time approximate from football) and 9-1-1 (Sun./Early Mon. at midnight and 1 a.m.) starting Sept. 17 and 18, respectively. Of note, 9-1-1 is the first ever off-Fox show to appear on ABC 7 as syndication rights shifted to Disney after their purchase of 20th Century Fox’s non-broadcasting assets. Both replace Castle and Wipeout, respectively.

Over at CBS 2, new is Paramount Global’s Magnum P.I., which replaces Bull in syndication. The 2018 revival – which was recently picked up by NBC after getting pink-slipped by CBS, is airing at midnight late Saturday and Sunday nights (time approximate due to football.) The program is being paired with Paramount/CBS’ SEAL Team on most CBS O&Os and in other markets.

Another new off-network drama is Sony’s The Good Doctor, as the off-ABC drama gets the 2 and 3 p.m. Saturday afternoon slots on CW 26.

As for new fare, the highest-profile program is the return of professional wrestling to syndication for the first time in 20 years with the debut of WOW – Women Of Wrestling from Paramount Global. In Chicago, WOW airs Saturdays at 6 p.m. and 9 p.m. on CW 26, beginning September 17.

What’s Out

This was covered beforehand, so what’s not coming back is well known. In addition to above mentioned, others exiting include The Doctors, The Real, Right This Minute, The Good DishNick Cannon, Judge Jerry, and DailyMail TV. In total, eleven first-run shows ended last season.

In addition to Mike & Molly and 2 Broke Girls, Schitt’s Creek is also ending its off-network run later this month and is also being removed from Netflix as of October 2 and moving to Hulu the next day. In addition to the above mentions, weekend programming exiting includes MacGyver, and as mentioned earlier, Bull – both after only one season.

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