WFLA-Ch. 8 announces 4 p.m. newscast, moving Dr. Oz to 3 p.m. weekdays
Even as news outlets Tuesday were juggling stories on Anthony Weiner and England’s new royal heir, Tampa NBC affiliate WFLA-Ch. 8 was dropping news of its own – announcing a new, hourlong 4 p.m. newscast scheduled to debut Aug. 26.
Called First at 4, the newscast will be anchored by Stacie Schaible and will be the Tampa Bay area’s only local broadcast news program at 4 p.m. CBS affiliate WTSP-Ch. 10 had a 4 p.m. newscast in 1997 and later in 2003, when it aired the daytime talk show Dr. Phil at 5 p.m.; cable newschannel Bay News 9 also offers local news reporting at 4 p.m.
The move requires WFLA to reshuffle its daytime lineup: Dr. Oz, featuring Oprah Winfrey protégé Mehmet Oz, moves to 3 p.m., while The Doctors moves to 2 p.m. and Rachael Ray moves to 11 a.m. Oz’s show had been scoring ratings below other talk shows in the same time period, including WTVT-Ch. 13’s Judge Judy, WFTS-Ch. 28’s Ellen and WTSP’s Dr. Phil.
Shifting Ray’s show also ends WFLA's 11 a.m. newscast, but general manager Brad Moses said he hopes to bring back the program in September 2014, when contracts for all three syndicated talk shows expire and the station gets two popular new series. In fall 2014, WFLA will air The Steve Harvey Show at 2 p.m. and Ellen at 3 p.m., giving the station a chance to reshuffle its lineup again; Moses said Dr. Oz will move to another local broadcaster then.
Such shifting, when complete, may help WFLA’s afternoon ratings by plugging two more popular daytime shows into the channel’s lineup, funneling audiences into their 4 p.m. newscast.
“My goal is to continue a lineup that lives up to the name Newschannel 8,” said Moses; he also acknowleded local newscasts allow affiliates to keep advertising revenue, rather than pay syndication fees or share commercial time. “Our news is such a big part of that brand…there’s a lot of good in creating a new newscast for us.”
WFLA also airs a 7 p.m. newscast led by a sole, female host, started during NBC’s coverage of the Summer Olympics. WFLA has struggled in the afternoon in recent “sweeps” ratings periods, placing third among key viewers at 5 p.m., 5:30 p.m. and 6 p.m. in February and May.