Dropping of ‘Inside’ deals blow to ‘Journal’

King World’s fall 1993 magazine show, “American Journal,” is already facing its first major crisis.

The decision by WCBS-TV, New York, to drop KW’s low-rated “Inside Edition” from the 4 p.m. slot in January to make room for Tribune Entertainment’s “Geraldo” (Daily Variety, Nov. 17) also represents a setback for “Journal.”

Although WCBS never announced a time period for the new program, which was quickly greenlighted after racking up a number of impressive clearances, it was widely assumed the station had been looking to pair the two syndicated series next season.

The most likely scenario had “Inside” and “Journal” as a 4-5 p.m. early fringe block leading into news; now both have been relegated to latenight slots on WCBS.

The syndicator is free to seek other stations for the two news magazines, but even KW’s resident miracle-maker, chairman Roger King, could have a tough time getting decent slots this time.

None of the other network-owned stations appears likely to drop its access or early fringe programming to make room for the mags, which would leave KW to contend for openings on New York’s independent stations.

News magazines, however, traditionally don’t perform well on non-Fox indies–and there doesn’t appear to be much chance that either KW show will land on Fox-owned WNYW.

With an indie or latenight clearance in New York, the show’s national barter rating could suffer in the nation’s largest TV market. That, of course, would translate into lower advertising rates for an expensive magazine program.

For its part, KW has already shown a willingness to keep “Edition” alive even during those times it was without a N.Y. home.

A spokeswoman for the syndicator downplayed the situation yesterday, saying, “There is a long way to go between now and September. We are confident that we will get a good slot (for both shows).”

Still, the most likely O&O candidate, WABC-TV, already carries KW’s top-rated “Oprah Winfrey Show” from 4-5 p.m. From 7-8 p.m., the station carries KW’s “Jeopardy!” and “Wheel of Fortune.”

WABC airs net soaps until 4 p.m. and fills the post-“Nightline” midnight position with a successful movie block, leaving little room for either of the orphaned shows.

One of the few possibilities for KW is Tribune indie WPIX-TV, which currently carries “Geraldo.”

While it wouldn’t be ideal, KW might be willing to go for an indie in the hopes that another prime slot opens later. The rep for the syndicator declined to comment on a possible WPIX clearance.

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