Local news no longer feel for the drive at five

There is a notable trend of big-market television stations on the East Coast dropping news at 5 p.m. for syndicated fare.

WPLG in Miami went to No.1 in the time period when it inserted Dr. Phil several years ago, and its 6 p.m. newscast got a boost, too.

WXIA-TV in Atlanta also scored ratings success with a similar move. That station also airs Dr. Phil at 5 p.m. and a local newscast at 7.

Now two NBC O&Os (as noted here last Friday) are hoping for the same magic as WNBC-TV in New York and WTVJ-TV in Miami are adding syndicated programming at 5 p.m. and news at 7 p.m.

WTVJ is adding Ellen at 5 while WNBC is moving Extra to the same time slot effective Sept. 10. WNBC’s new early fringe newscast, News 4 You, airs at 5:30 p.m. The move means an end of the line for Live at Five, which has been the station signature newscast in early fringe for 30 years.

This comes as stations on the East Coast are dealing with more and more viewers coming home later from work, thus decreasing the available numbers of viewers in the 5 p.m. hour. In other words, if your station doesn’t have Oprah, Dr. Phil, or Jeopardy! as a news lead-in, you’re screwed.