"Cold Case Files" heads to syndication

WBBM-TV picks up series, bringing Bill Kurtis back to station.

CBS-owned WBBM-TV has picked up repeats of a reality series titled Cold Case Files, hosted by Bill Kurtis. The series will air on the CBS O&O in a 1:07 a.m. Tuesday thru Saturday time slot, beginning Sept. 22.

But in a rather odd twist in the deal (but a positive one), Bill Kurtis will do one-minute Cold Case Update vignettes during WBBM-TV’s 10 p.m. newscasts, which provides updates on local and national unsolved homicides (vignettes are one-minute inserts stations can air during newscasts, such as the Mr. Food segments that appears on WLS-TV’s midday newscasts.)

The move marks a homecoming of sorts for Kurtis, who is best known in local circles for pairing up with Walter Jacobson to co-anchor WBBM’s newscasts, which dominated the market during the late 1970’s and early 1980’s.

Kurtis left the station in 1982 to anchor CBS’ morning newscasts, but returned to WBBM in 1985 where he faced a station whose ratings – in news and syndicated programming (America, anyone?) were in very quick decline. While at WBBM, Kurtis started his own documentary company and departed the station in 1996 to devote full time to those projects. A&E has aired many of them, including Cold Case Files from 1999 to 2005.

Kurtis has also become a pitchman for AT&T Mobile Internet services.

The acquisition fits like a glove for WBBM, which already airs procedural dramas Without A Trace and Cold Case on weekends.

Did you know? The last time WBBM aired reruns of any off-network reality series in late fringe was during the 1994-95 season with the former CBS series Top Cops, which was distributed by Genesis Entertainment.


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