WTSP-Ch. 10 starts new 5 p.m. newscast, boots Dr. Phil to 7 p.m., ends 4 p.m. newscast
When they first began airing the show at 5 p.m. against local newscasts, it was an inspired move. Viewers flocked to the only big network affiliate that wasn't offering local news in the time period and Dr. Phil McGraw's mystique as a star disciple of Oprah was probably convincing more than a few of her viewers on WFLA-Ch. 8's 4 p.m. show to switch over to Dr. Phil at 5 p.m.
But recently Dr. Phil has begun to sag in the ratings as the show's novelty has worn off and McGraw has increasingly turned to tabloid subjects.
I had been hearing whispers that executives at WTSP were trying to find a way to move Dr. Phil from 5 p.m., but were prohibited from simply swapping it with their 4 p.m. newscast by a stricture from the syndicator barring stations from airing it against Winfrey's show.
Now, WTSP has made its move, ending the 4 p.m. newscast, starting a half-hour, 5 p.m. newscast helmed by main anchors Reginald Roundtree and Heather Van Nest and moving Inside Edition to 5:30 p.m., kicking Dr. Phil to 7 p.m. and a 9 a.m. rebroadcast the next day.
It's all supposed to take place on May 25
When I get back to work Tuesday, I'll ask the executives some potent questions, like: What happens to 4 p.m. anchor Dave Wirth? Why run Inside Edition at 5:30 p.m. instead of a local newscast? And can Dr. Phil really compete against Jeopardy and Wheel of Fortune at 7 p.m.?
Until then, here's WTSP's press release:
St. Petersburg, FL; April 24, 2009: Effective Monday, May 25, 2009, 10 Connects will broadcast “Who Wants to be a Millionaire” Monday through Friday at 4:00pm and 4:30pm. A different episode will be broadcast each half-hour.
Then at 5:00pm, 10 Connects will introduce a new half-hour newscast featuring Reginald Roundtree, Heather Van Nest and meteorologist Tammie Souza. “Inside Edition” will follow at 5:30pm, which will be followed by 10 Connects News at 6:00pm and The CBS Evening News with Katie Couric at 6:30pm.
“The Dr. Phil Show” will be moved from 5:00pm to 7:00pm and will be repeated the following morning at 9:00am.
“Local viewers will find some new viewing options here,” said (Ken Tonning, President and General Manager of 10 Connects), while making the announcement. “We will now offer a hit game show in the 4 o’clock hour, a strong 2-hour news block followed by one of the top talk shows in the nation at 7:00pm. We’re excited about this line-up’s potential.”
10 Connects is the brand name of WTSP, the Gannett-owned CBS affiliate serving the Tampa Bay region.