Daytime leader CBS will return one hour of time in that daypart to its affiliates, in the process opening up more shelf space to eager syndicators.

CBS will drop the 10-11 a.m. hour occupied by “Family Feud,” which has been airing on the network off and on since 1988. A retrenchment of the daytime block has long been rumored as the Eye Web, as well as NBC and ABC, reevaluate their daytime lineups.

With a spate of new syndicated daytime talkers vying for fall 1993 clearances in a crowded marketplace, the CBS opening could prove a bonanza for distribs.

Affiliates will be able to program the hour themselves, using syndicated fare or local programming. They will also be able to sell the roughly 14 minutes each hour in advertising time, something they have no access to now.

Once the hour is cut, CBS will offer 4 1/2 hours of daytime programming daily , putting it on the same level as ABC, which recently dropped a half-hour of its “Home” show and returned the time to stations.

NBC will soon decrease its programming to four hours, dropping “Dr. Dean” and “Santa Barbara” and replacing the latter with an unspecified one-hour gameshow. Still, at a New York American Women in Radio & Television luncheon earlier this week, network president Pier Mapes said the gameshow was merely designed to hold time periods for the Peacock web, until it could come into the daypart with a new talk entry, possibly next summer.

Although CBS is the highest-rated daytime network in terms of households–having led in the Nielsen standings for 189 consecutive weeks–the 10 a.m. hour has been troublesome and plagued by low clearances.

According to a CBS spokeswoman, web fare in the timeslot only reaches about 60% of the U.S., including clearances on its owned stations. Clearance levels then soar at 11 a.m. for long-running gameshow “The Price Is Right.”

“They have a helluva clearance problem there,” said Allen Bell, head of Freedom Newspaper’s broadcast operation. “There are a lot of syndicated programs designed for that time period.”

“Feud’s” distributor, All American TV, also stands to gain from CBS’ actions. Because the program was offered by the network in daytime, All American was barred from selling the show anywhere during the day. The series is produced by Mark Goodson Prods.

CBS has gone through a number of programs in that morning hour, including “Designing Women” repeats and “The Barbara De Angelis Show,” without much success. As the ratings declined, the time period became less desirable to advertisers.

“If you have strength, there’s no clearance problems. It costs money to put stuff in that time period,” said Bell. “This is an astute business judgment on (CBS’) part rather than an act of conciliation.”

The network also stressed that the decision to return the hour was unrelated to a recent compensation flap with affiliates, which at the time threatened wholesale preemptions of non-prime time programming such as the late night “Crime Time After Prime Time” shows and “CBS This Morning.”

CBS has since worked out a compromise in which it backed off from many of its proposed changes, a move that was endorsed by its affiliates board (Daily Variety, Oct. 8).

CBS boasts the two top-rated daytime shows in terms of households, soap “The Young and the Restless” and “Price is Right.”

ABC, however, traditionally draws slightly better numbers among women age 18- 49, the key sales demographic for the daypart.

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