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King World puts ‘Rolonda’ talker in for ‘Les Brown’

King World confirmed Monday that its new Rolonda Watts talkshow will replace the defunct “Les Brown Show” on Jan. 17.

“Rolonda” has been cleared in 75% of the country, including all of the top 10 markets.

Most of the markets intend to air the new talker in the daytime, early and late fringe slots being vacated by “Les,” which will have its final airing Jan. 14.

The cash-plus-barter entry “Rolonda” had originally been slated to premiere in the fall, but KW began pitching the show as a replacement when it became apparent “Les” would fail.

Jack Fentress, VP-director of programming for Petry National Television, said he could see “no downside” to stations airing the new show early.

“The stations that carried ‘Les’ are already predisposed to talkshows,” he said.

Fentress noted that unlike Brown, Watts — who has been a senior correspondent and weekend anchor for KW’s syndicated newsmag “Inside Edition”– has an extensive broadcast background. Prior to “Inside,” she anchored newscasts at WABC-TV and WNBC-TV in New York.

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