"Springer" heads to WCIU

NBC Universal’s Jerry Springer, the wild and willy daytime talk show that hasn’t met a taboo it can smash (or a chair), is moving in the Chicago market to WCIU-TV in September 2010.

No time slot has been determined yet, but the program is expected to be paired up with The Steve Wilkos Show, a show spun-off from Springer in 2007 which WCIU acquired this season from WGN-TV, after two unproductive seasons.

Springer had been airing on Fox-owned WPWR-TV in a variety of time periods over the years, and ratings for the show have been nearly non-existent. In the last year or so, the program ranked dead last in households and key demos – a very far cry from the ratings it  used to do in its 2 p.m. time slot on NBC-owned WMAQ-TV in 1997 and 1998, where household numbers of 9 and 10 were quite common.

After the Rev. Michael Pflager threatened a boycott of WMAQ because of the show’s violent content, general manager Larry Wert dropped the show and was picked up by WFLD-TV for airing at 11 a.m. But as ratings declined over the years, the program was dumped onto WPWR’s lower-rated schedule.

In the October book, Springer did a 0.4 household rating and a 2 share and a 0.6/2 at 11 a.m. and 12  p.m., respectively [1]. Once a staple of several Fox-owned stations’ daytime lineups, only two are left who are currently airing Springer – WPWR and KUTP in Phoenix.

According to Robert Feder blog’s at Vocalo, Weigel plans to install a web camera at Springer’s studio in Stamford, Connecticut (I’m not making this up), where it and Wilkos re-located from Chicago earlier this year, joining Maury, which moved from New York City.

A month ago, Springer, Wilkos, and Maury were all renewed through 2012 by NBC Universal, which 51 percent of the company is in the process of being acquired by Comcast.

Even though Springer is tame today compared to a lot of reality TV programming (see Flavor of Love, Jersey Shore, and Bad Girls Club), the program is still on a lot of advertisers’ hit lists and national advertising consists of mostly direct-response spots.

[1] – “Special Edition #2” ratings for October 2009, Katz Media Group. Retrieved 2009-11-05.