Midday news yanked, 'Extra' in doubt as talker moves in
WNBC is getting out of the midday news business.The NBC flagship station will dump the low- rated 11:30 a.m. edition of “NewsChannel 4” in early September to make room for the new syndicated talker hosted by Roseanne, sources said Wednesday. An 11 a.m. rebroadcast of “Extra” also is expected to move to an overnight timeslot– or disappear completely — in order to free up an hour on WNBC’s daytime lineup for the new King World-produced show. A WNBC spokeswoman confirmed the decision to kill the midday newscast, but station president/general manager Dennis Swanson has yet to make any final decisions about the rest of the new fall lineup. Industry insiders say King World’s deal with WNBC guarantees an afternoon fringe timeslot for “The Roseanne Show,” making “Sally Jessy Raphael” or “The People’s Court” the leading candidates to fill the 11 a.m. – noon slot next fall. WNBC launched its midday newscast in September 1995, initially competing head- to-head with WABC, WCBS and Fox-owned WNYW at noon. Weak ratings prompted the station to move the newscast to 11:30 a.m. in January 1997, but numbers didn’t improve. During the most recent May book, “NewsChannel 4 at 11:30” averaged a 2.6 rating/ 9 share, finishing fifth in the timeslot. A WNBC spokeswoman said canceling the midday news will allow the station to “put our resources into other newscasts,’ particularly the early-morning and 11 p.m. races. Midday anchors Dean Shepherd and Michele Marsh will remain as co-anchors of WNBC’s 5 p.m. and 6 p.m. newscasts, respectively, she said.