KCOP will shift Paramount’s “The Arsenio Hall Show” to 11:30 p.m. on Aug. 9, with the station adding a second daily run of Viacom’s off-net sitcom “Roseanne” at 11 p.m.

The indie consequently becomes the first TV station not affiliated with CBS or Fox to move “Arsenio” to a later time period.

A Par spokesman said a “minimal” number of CBS and Fox affils have taken similar action to make room for their new David Letterman and Chevy Chase latenight talkers, but stressed that no other stations carrying “Arsenio” are looking to follow suit.

Both KCOP general manager Rick Feldman and the studio rep characterized the shift of “Arsenio,” which the station has aired at 11 p.m. since its inception, as a positive move.

“Roseanne” is considered a stronger and more compatible lead-in than the station’s older-skewing 10 p.m. news.

“Arsenio’s” household mark declined to a 2.2 rating/6 share in Nielsen’s May sweeps from a 3.3/9 in May ’92. It fared slightly worse than its news lead-in, which fell to a 1.9/3 from a 2.7/5 the previous year.

In terms of demographics, on which the show is sold, “Arsenio” finished down 1 point in women, even in men 18-49 and up 1 share in men 18-34 on a year-to-year basis.

The Par spokesman emphasized the syndicator supported KCOP’s decision to push the program back a half-hour, looking at the new time period in Los Angeles as an “upgrade.”

“We believe that ‘Roseanne’ will provide a perfect lead-in,” he said. “It’s a natural companion for ‘Arsenio.’ Roseanne and Tom (Arnold) are long-time supporters of his show, having appeared 15 times.”

Aside from the stronger lead-in, the studio rep pointed to “Arsenio’s” success at 11:30 in other large markets. The show has performed well on (KCOP-sister station) WWOR-TV in New York and CBS affil WUSA-TV in Washington, D.C., which has agreed to keep “Arsenio” at 11:30 despite the Eye Web’s push to clear Letterman there.

“It’s an effort on both of our parts to strengthen the whole (11 p.m.-12:30 a.m.) block,” Feldman said.

Head start

With its new start time on KCOP, “Arsenio” will get a five-minute jump on CBS’ Letterman and NBC’s Jay Leno, while giving Fox’s Chase a half-hour headstart in the nation’s second-largest TV market.

Feldman chose to put “Roseanne” in at 6 and 11 because rival KTTV is bumping the strong syndie performer “Cops” at 11 p.m. for Chase. Now KTLA, with “Cheers, ” and KCOP will be the only two stations in the market to carry sitcoms during the time period.

“I think a strong sitcom will do pretty well there,” Feldman said.

With its primary 18-34 demo, he noted, “Arsenio” still skews the youngest of all its competitors and will provide a “clear alternative” to the other three talkshows.

But when questioned about “Arsenio’s” performance on the station, Feldman acknowledged the show’s slippage over the past year led him to believe that a younger-skewing lead-in would be in order.

“It can only help,” he said.

Not only is KCOP and Par counting on higher ratings with the shift, but Feldman said he thinks the added competition will help “re-energize” Hall’s program.

When pressed, the G.M. noted that he believed the show “needed to be broadened a little. (Its appeal) is a little too narrow.”

But the Par spokesman said that no format changes are contemplated for the program, which he said has “maintained a core and loyal audience.”

With the programming changes, KCOP will move the second daily run of Viacom’s “Montel Williams Show” from midnight to noon and install Par’s “Dear John” at 12 :30 a.m.

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