WMAQ drops midday newscast

A little late with this, but it does bear mentioning: Robert Feder in the Chicago Sun-Times reported Thursday that WMAQ-TV’s 11a.m. newscast and its checkerboard rotation of 11:30am syndicated shows are being axed for iVillage Live, a new interactive program that will air live from 11a.m. to noon (CT) on Channel 5 and nine other NBC O&O’s, and simultaneously on NBC’s Bravo cable network and online at iVillage.com. NBC acquired the assets of the female-oriented website last year. The fun begins Dec. 4.

The move is related to NBC Universal goal to cut 700 jobs and save $750 million dollars.

NBC and its most of its affiliates traditionally has trailed ABC and CBS in the daytime ratings race. Since 1988, the network has cut three-and-a-half hours from its daytime lineup, giving the time back to its affiliates for local programming or in most cases, syndicated programs.

WMAQ’s newscast averaged only a 1.1 rating and 4 share in October, far behind its news competitors, and syndicated shows Who Wants To Be A Millionaire and Judge Joe Brown.

The last time something like this (minus the internet and cable component, of course) was tried on the NBC O&O level in daytime was the ill-fated revival of House Party, which aired on NBC-owned and Group W stations, and a handful of other outlets in 1990. The host of the show? None other than the man who fronts Fox News Channel’s morning show Fox and Friends — Steve Doocy.