"Ellen" moves back to 4 p.m. in the NYC

Since it worked so well the first time around…

NBC-owned WNBC-TV in New York has upgraded (or downgraded?) Warner’s Ellen to 4 p.m., pitting the talk show once again against Oprah on WABC-TV and Judge Judy on WCBS-TV in a move that begins next Monday (and during a sweeps period no less.)

This knocks Program Partners’ Crosswords and NBC Universal’s Access Hollywood repeat to 11 a.m. and 11:30 a.m., respectively – the time slot Ellen holds now. Crosswords had been struggling in the ratings at 4 p.m., often placing as low as seventh in the time period. Nevertheless, WNBC renewed the program for fall.

Insiders are saying however that this move is temporary, and Ellen will move back to the mornings come fall. A daytime version of Deal Or No Deal is expected to land in the 4 p.m. slot come then.

The move means that Ellen once again has early-fringe clearances in all top three markets, including a 3 p.m. slot at WMAQ-TV here.