It look like Sean Compton has decided to make his legancy known before he is shown the door.
In the huge upheaval that was happening last week at Tribune (which saw the exit of CEO Randy Michaels), one of Michaels' hires cut a programing deal with NBC Universal to continue to carry its conflict talk shows on its station group until 2014.
Compton is President of Programming and Entertainment of Tribune Entertainment (for now, anyway.)
The deal only includes stations who currently carry the three series, including WPIX in New York City and KTLA in Los Angeles. In Chicago, only WGN-TV carries Maury; Weigel's WCIU carries Steve Wilkos and Jerry Springer under separate multi-year deals. While Wilkos has been airing on WCIU since September 2009, Springer moved to WCIU this fall from longtime outlet WPWR-TV.
All three series have also been renewed on Sinclair and Hearst station groups. Those deals cover markets including Tampa (WMOR), Orlando, Pittsburgh (WPGH), Cincinnati (WSTR), Columbus, Oh., and Milwaukee (WVTV/WCGV). Together with the Tribune deals, the renewals cover 50 percent of the country.
The trio - Jerry Springer, Maury, and The Steve Wilkos Show - have seen ratings increases in key young female demos this season as opposed to last season. With The Oprah Winfrey Show ending its run this season, it is an opportunity for these shows to take advantage - already, Maury has tied Oprah in women 18-34 so far this season and is the number one talk show in adults 18-49.
Meanwhile, Jerry Springer - now in its 20th season in syndication - saw its season premiere grow 27% in household ratings compared to last year. Interesting to note this comes on the heels of a report in the New York Times today of one of the series' early critics (The Parents Television Council) is losing clout and is also losing money.
The New York Times has been taking down a lot of organizations lately, haven't they?