The Media Notepad: “Family Feud” renewed through 2026

Also: Sling adds ABC 7 to its lineup – at a cost; MLB possibly looking at reclaiming local rights as RSNs creater; Chicago media comings and goings 

Joining a trend of veteran series handing out multi-year renewals, the latest came this week when Debmar-Mercury announced it has re-upped Family Feud through 2026, taking the show to its 27th consecutive season and its 50th overall. The program has been renewed by multiple station groups who currently carry the show including Fox, who holds the rights to the Steve Harvey-hosted game show here in Chicago. 

“Demand for a proven demo and household ratings winner like Family Feud has been intense,” said Debmar-Mercury Co-Presidents Mort Marcus and Ira Bernstein. “We are extremely pleased to be able to continue our long-term relationships with our incredible broadcast partners, while providing our dedicated viewers of all ages with much-needed laughter and enjoyment throughout the coming years.”

Feud is syndicated TV’s top-rated strip in the female 25-54 demo and ranks in the top three among all syndicated shows. Locally, Feud airs six times a weekday with Fox 32 airing the show from 2-3 p.m. and sister station My50 airing it from 5-7 p.m. 

The renewals come as Fox renewed their entire entire portfolio of first-run shows for next season, with Pictionary getting a second season and as mentioned here the other day, You Bet your Life getting a third. It also comes the same week Dr. Phil announced his show is coming to an end, but remain on the air in reruns. 

Feud premiered on ABC’s daytime lineup with Richard Dawson as host on July 12, 1976 as a syndicated nighttime version appeared the following year, eventually expanding to five nights a week by the fall of 1980 as both versions came to an end in 1985. A revival version appeared just three years later with Ray Combs as host, and ran on CBS until 1993 and syndication until 1995 (Dawson returned to host in 1994 after Combs was fired.)  Feud had a third revival attempt in 1999 and has been on the air since, with Steve Harvey taking over hosting duties in 2010. 

Dish-owned MVPD (multiple video programming distributor) Sling TV announced Tuesday it is adding eight ABC-owned television stations to its lineup, effective March 1. But for customers in five of those cities, the price to use the service is going up. 

The addition is in the nation’s biggest markets where ABC owns stations, including ABC 7 (WLS-TV) here. Others are in New York, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, San Francisco, and Houston, plus Raleigh-Durham and Fresno, Calif. But in the five biggest markets, Sling will increase the price for Blue package and Blue/Orange packages by $5/month, bringing to a total of $45 and $60 a month, respectively. 

The reason is in those markets, Sling TV also carries other network-owned stations from NBC and Fox. In Chicago, that’s NBC 5 and Telemundo Chicago (WMAQ/WSNS) and Fox 32 and My50 (WFLD/WPWR.) Both companies own stations in New York, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, and San Francisco. Prices remain the same elsewhere, as NBC and Fox don’t own stations in Raleigh and Fresno, and NBC does own its Telemundo station in Houston but not the primary NBC affiliate (Fox owns two stations in Houston, KRIV/KTXH.) 

“For many years, Sling has been able to absorb the increasing costs of these local broadcast channels,” Sling TV group president Gary Schanman said in a statement. “To carry ABC, Fox and NBC, we need to ensure our pricing includes some of the cost of delivering these services.” Most cable and satellite providers charge a “monthly OTA fee” on consumers’ bills as part of retransmission consent payments stations get from them. 

Last year, Dish and Sling had a dispute with ABC parent The Walt Disney Co., with their channels being yanked from each platform for two days.

Despite the increases, Sling TV is still cheaper than MVPD contemporaries Fubo TV, Hulu + Live TV, DirecTV Stream, and YouTube TV as Sling doesn’t carry pricey regional sports networks. 

With Bally Sports facing bankruptcy, MLB is mulling a plan to take control of the league’s TV rights. 

A bankruptcy filing from the RSN means Bally can wiggle their way out of paying the 14 MLB teams they have rights to. Sinclair subsidary Diamond Sports Group is in tons of debt after their purchase of the former Fox networks from Disney in 2019 as cord-cutting has taken its toll. So, MLB is forming an economic commitee to deal with the matter and 

Marquee, a Sinclair network whose ownership structure is set up differently from the Bally RSN as the Chicago Cubs are a part-owner, isn’t affected. 

Bally also has rights to several NBA and NHL teams, but their respective leagues have yet to address the bankruptcy situation. This comes as the latter has seen a ratings drop for their nationally-televised games this season. 

No other Chicago teams are affected as their rights are held by NBC Sports Chicago, but that doesn’t mean they’re immune to the problems dogging RSNs as ratings for the Bulls, Blackhawks, and White Sox are down tremendously from last season (in the White Sox’s case, from the 2021 season.) But the lackluster performance and general negative vibe surrounding each team is also a contributing factor, let alone cord-cutting. But even if they were playing better, those rating numbers would be tough to increase. 

Some Chicago media comings and goings: 

– Solomon Liberman was hired as the new publisher and CEO of the non-profit Reader Institute of Community Journalism, parent company of the Chicago Reader replacing Tracy Baim in the role, who announced her departure last summer. 

– The Chicago Tribune promoted Phil Janik to managing editor

– Investigate reporter Lisa Parker announced her departure from NBC 5 this week as parent parent company NBCUniversal continues to offer veteran employees voluntary early retirement buyouts. Last week saw Fred Roggin depart from his sports anchor role after 42 years at sister station KNBC-TV Los Angeles. 

– Meanwhile at cross-town competitor ABC 7, Jaisol Martinez joined the station’s weather team on January 18. Originally from El Paso, Tex., she comes here from Sunbeam-owned independent WHDH-TV Boston. Welcome! 


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