Local stations nationwide are wasting little time when The Oprah Winfrey Show signs off on Wednesday. And ABC-owned WLS-TV isn't the only Chicago station making changes
Beginning this Thursday (yes, this Thursday), WLS is replacing Oprah at 9 a.m.with a local effort, Windy City Live. Oprah reruns will air on WLS at 11:05 p.m. until September 9.
But WCIU (26.1) is also making some changes as well - on the same day, no less. Beginning Thursday, WCIU begins airing Dr. Phil - yes, that Dr. Phil - at 9 a.m., according to information obtained from WCIU's website. The run consists of mainly second-run episodes.
New episodes Dr. Phil continues to air at 3 p.m. on CBS-owned WBBM-TV. Earlier this year, WCIU quietly added second-run episodes of Dr. Phil at 7 p.m. on its "U Too" channel.
Sharing syndicated product isn't new in Chicago - syndicated reruns of Family Guy air on WGN on its weeknight schedule and on WCIU in primetime on Saturday nights. MeTV airs M*A*S*H weeknights at 6 p.m. and also on its longtime syndicated home at WFLD-TV at 12:30 a.m. Other syndicated series shared by local stations in the past include Judge Judy and reruns of Beverly Hills, 90210.
WCIU is also adding a second run of Dr. Phil spin-off The Doctors on the same day at 8 a.m. (Doctors continues to air at 5 p.m. on WCIU.)
With The Oprah Winfrey Show ending first-run episodes Wednesday and officially entering lame-duck status, stations can program Oprah spin-offs Dr. Oz, Dr. Phil, and The Nate Berkus Show wherever they want on their programming schedule (Doctors wasn't covered under that pact because it isn't produced by Harpo.) In the past, stations were prohibited from airing any Harpo-produced programming opposite The Oprah Winfrey Show per their contracts with respective syndicators CBS Television Distribution and Sony Pictures Television. But those clauses are lifted as of Thursday.
Meanwhile, other stations are also making changes on Thursday. Several ABC-owned stations are cutting Oprah out of their lineups or moving the talker to late-night to make room for local newscasts, while some of their competitors are taking advantage. In Philadelphia ABC-owned WPVI is adding a 4 p.m. newscast to replace Oprah, while CBS-owned KYW-TV is moving Dr. Phil to the same time period.
In New York, WABC-TV is also launching a 4 p.m. newscast Thursday. In San Francisco, ABC's KGO-TV debuts its 4 p.m. newscast on Thursday, while Cox Communications' Fox affiliate KTVU shifts Dr. Oz to the same time period. Other ABC O&O markets making changes include Raleigh, N.C. and Fresno, Calif.
Cox-owned ABC affiliate WSB-TV in Atlanta is also replacing Oprah with a local newscast at 4 p.m. this Thursday.
Meanwhile, WCIU is also revamping its morning lineup, with the station combining its You & Me In The Morning's half-hours into one-two hour show from 6-8 a.m.; courtroom shows America's Court and Judge Karen's Court and off-network sitcom Everybody Hates Chris shifts to sister channel U Too.