Is WMC Planning to Launch a 4pm Newscast?

Could WMC be preparing to launch a 4pm weekday newscast?  I’ve heard that rumor but have no idea if it’s true.  So far, nobody is talking, at least to me anyway.  WREG has a 4 o’clock news started IMHO because no programming the station could buy could compare to Oprah which WMC has run for years.  So, instead of trying to go toe-to-toe against Oprah, WREG had to counter-program in a serious way.  The original 4pm show at WREG was hosted by Paula Haddock and April Thompson and seemed to focus on women and women’s topics.  That format didn’t seem to light a fire under viewers so they switched it over to more of a harder news format and moved Paula off and Alex Coleman in her place.  I can’t remember the most recent numbers but it seemed to be doing okay.  Now I will be the first to admit that what I know about running and programming a TV station could be inscribed on the head of a pen with magic marker but what would WMC do with Oprah?  Move her to the time slot currently filled by Dr. Phil?  Even if Oprah has “jumped the shark”  I would imagine she still has a loyal viewing with good numbers.  I know that TV stations discovered a long time ago that it’s cheaper to slap another newscast on the air than pay for syndicated programming but moving Oprah to make way for yet another newscast is either a really bold and gutsy move or well,  maybe I COULD program a TV station.  Then again, maybe this is just a rumor after all and someone is just yanking my chain.

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7 Comments on “Is WMC Planning to Launch a 4pm Newscast?”

  1. Chris in Brazil Says:

    I always wondered why ABC24 didn’t do the 4pm show. I also always wondered why Memphis needed 4 newscasts at 5pm. Channel 3 seems to have the nitch at 4. So when tornadoes pop up in the afternoon? Channel 3 is already on. I also wondered why Fox 13 didn’t try an earlier newscast though from what I’ve read they’re doing pretty well, aren’t they? Seems like 2 stations at 4 and 4:30, 4 stations at 5, 1 at 5:30 and 3 at 6:00 is such a news glut. But I guess that’s where the money is?

  2. The GM Says:

    Oprah’s contract runs through 2011. WMC could move it to run live at 9a central or sometime between 9a and 4p. If they are planning a 4p newscast it has to do with two things. One is Oprah’s cable channel. I’m sure WMC as an NBC affiliate was not too pleased with Oprah promoting ABC’s Big Give day in and day out as part of her show. One can only guess how she’ll do the same for her cable network.

    The second is that central time zone stations have a disadvantage over eastern time zone stations. There is no prime access in the central time zone. In the east, there is a 5p, 5:30p and 6p local news with national news at 6:30p and prime access at 7p and 7:30p. Doing a newscast a 4p gets a news cost per point in a spot if they currently get an early fringe cost per point (which is lower, even if it is Oprah).

    They’re looking toward the future and the bottomline. Oprah’s recent moves have left a number of stations a bit disenchanted.

    The GM

  3. joelarkins Says:

    I knew someone would weigh in with an answer. As always your perspective is much appreciated. Now, the big question: Is WMC actually moving toward a 4pm? The plot thickens.


  4. GM, given that WMC is stuck with 4 hours of TODAY from 7-11 am, how could they move Oprah to 9 AM? Also, who’s pulling better numbers, Oprah at 4 or Dr. Phil at 3?

    What if they did a super-dump and got rid of ALL Oprah programming, including Dr. Phil AND Rachael Ray? I’ve heard Rachael is about to lose her NYC affiliate…

  5. The GM Says:

    LeftWingCracker,
    I believe the fourth hour of Today is optional — and if the success of putting Kathie Lee on there is any indication, it may be short lived. WMC won’t drop all of the Oprah products (King World now CBS). Dr. Phil continues to grow, at least nationally. Rachel Ray, there is no telling and Oprah still takes the lion’s share of the ratings. I’d be shocked if they moved Oprah but they might to prepare for a future without her.

    Keep your eye out this fall for a Dr. Phil produced show called the Doctors. It’s the next big daytime hit.

    The GM

  6. RP...(Richard) Says:

    As a viewer only, WMC should drop that “bonehead” Dr. Phil show.
    Now as a man, I have watched Oprah along with my girlfriend, if there is something that interests us on the show. But as a rule, we pass her up too.
    I guess WMC could drop all the Harpo productions and I wouldn’t miss them, but in all honesty……….news from 4pm till 6:30pm is a bit much. No matter what station it’s on!

  7. Doug J. Says:

    Another of my fond memories of 3 was when they launched the early show… it was actually at 4:30, not at 4… and besides featuring April & Paula, the powers-that-used-to-be decided that it needed a regular franchise, so me & the Healthwatch got moved back a half-hour from the 5 to the 4:30.

    I think my biggest contribution to the show was when we were live from the Mid-South Women’s Show… I convinced the anchors to each wear straw hats (it was spring, after all). I wore my straw fedora and we had us a party!


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