Fox’s WNYW preps to steal ‘Cops’ from WNBC

WNYW-TV in New York, the only Fox-owned station without Twentieth TV’s syndicated version of “Cops,” appears poised to grab the strip away from WNBC-TV next fall.

A WNYW spokeswoman said “Cops” is among the programs under consideration for next September, but Twentieth exec VP and general sales manager Ken Solomon confirmed the series will likely land on the station.

Solomon called the switch from the Peacock O&O to the Fox station a “delicate situation” since WNBC — which holds the rights to “Cops” through the remainder of this season — and KTTV played a major role in “catapulting” the gritty reality series into national syndication this past September.

The loss of “Cops,” while opening a valuable access slot for other syndicators on WNBC, would be a blow to the station that had remained uncompetitive in the 7 p.m. weeknight slot for nearly a decade before the off-Fox series premiered there in August 1992.

Since “Cops” made its debut on WNBC, it has doubled the station’s household ratings average from a 3 to a 6 and made it the leader in key demographic of men 18-34, according to Solomon.

Today, the station is holding its own among the tightly bunched pack of shows that play runner-up to WABC-TV’s 7 p.m. juggernaut “Jeopardy!”

The move to a Fox-owned station won’t necessarily guarantee the series an access slot in the nation’s largest TV market. Solomon said there is no time period guarantee for “Cops” yet on WNYW.

WNYW has two other Twentieth series that are geared for access: “The Simpsons ,” which will likely premiere on the Fox stations in fall 1994, and the tabmag “A Current Affair.”

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