Can “Harry” save the syndicated talk show?

Harry Connick Jr. on the set of "Harry". (NBCUniversal/Heidi Gutman)
Harry Connick Jr. on the set of “Harry”. (NBCUniversal/Heidi Gutman)

Your 2016 syndication fall preview 

Harry Connick Jr.s’ new syndicated talk show debuts today, and with it comes a question: could this really be the end of the big-budget daytime syndicated show?

This year, Connick’s show is the only new syndicated daytime talk shows being rolled out on a full national basis, as opposed to five new talkers in 2012 – the most since 1995. Of those four, only Steve Harvey is still on the air today.

Notably, stations and syndicators are shunning new programming for more local news and renewing existing syndicated programming – for instance, Dr. Oz was recently renewed through 2019, despite fall-out from endorsing a faulty weight-loss program and getting skewered (or schooled) by John Oliver. In Chicago, NBC-owned WMAQ and Fox-owned WFLD recently added newscasts in early fringe (afternoon.)

In a unusual (but refreshing) move, NBCUniversal sold Harry to the Fox-owned stations in mostly early fringe timeslots, though Harry still cleared a few NBC O&Os in markets where Fox doesn’t own a station. In Chicago, WFLD is airing Harry at 4 p.m. hoping viewers who aren’t interested in news at that time tune in (Harry is airing opposite three newscasts) – and more importantly, stick around for its newscast at 5.

Harry is also airing at 9 p.m. on WFLD’s sister station WPWR, as a bridge between CW programming and My Network TV fare. WPWR became a CW affiliate September 1.

Even though Harry  is basically the “only syndicated show premiering this fall”, there are actually two more programs also premiering this Monday, though not as widely cleared: T.D. Jakes’ new talk show and the return of Glenda Hatchett in The Verdict With Glenda Hatchett.

T.D. Jakes' show starts today.
T.D. Jakes’ show starts today.

Jakes is going the slow rollout route, airing on WCIU weekdays at 9 a.m. and is airing on Tegna-owned stations across the country, with no New York and Los Angeles clearances thus far. Meanwhile, The Verdict brings Hatchett back to TV, who previously starred in Judge Hatchett from 2000-08. Hatchett airs on WCIU weekdays at 12:30 p.m. and sister station WCUU (The U Too) at 10:30 a.m. starting Monday.

Two series with previous syndicated runs are also returning: reruns of Judge Alex (WCIU, 11 a.m.) and CSI: Miami (WBBM, Sat. 11 p.m.) CBS Television Distribution decided to replace Good Wife with Miami in weekend syndication, due to poor ratings.

And two more shows are returning to Chicago airwaves: Access Hollywood Live (1 p.m.,WMAQ, premiered Sept. 6) and Right This Minute (1:40 a.m. on WLS-TV.) In wonderful news for CBS Television Distribution, occupant Rachael Ray was able to get out of her overnight slot at WLS and return to daytime, moving to The U Too at 1 p.m.

As mentioned earlier, newly-independent WGN is rolling out off-network repeats of Last Man Standing weeknights at 8 starting Sept. 19. It faces off against How I Met Your Mother on fellow indie WCIU, which moved from WPWR last week. Both shows are produced and distributed by Twentieth Television.

New weekend syndicated programming includes off-net airings of  X-Files and Major Crimes (replacing The Closer, the show it spun-off from.), both airing on WPWR. Marvel’s Agents of Shield is also expected to air in weekend syndication this fall, but a Chicago clearance wasn’t announced as of press time.

Outside of what was previously announced (FAB Life, Crazy Talk, etc.), other shows bidding adieu in broadcast syndication include Everybody Loves Raymond (already gone as of Sept. 1), Republic Of Doyle, Are We There Yet?, Eco Company, and Bridezillas.