NEW YORK — WPIX will mount an aggressive push for prime access dominance this fall, shifting off-net episodes of “Frasier” from late fringe into the key 7:30 p.m. time slot.
According to a draft version of the Tribune-owned station’s fall schedule circulating Monday, ‘PIX plans to pair “Frasier” with “Friends” to create a new adult-oriented comedy block from 7 to 8 p.m. That’s a major strategy shift for WPIX, since the station has been airing kid-friendly sitcoms like “Family Matters” and “Fresh Prince” in access in recent seasons.
WPIX is expected to fill its 11:30 p.m. post-“Seinfeld” timeslot — currently occupied by “Frasier” — with another “Friends” seg.
The station is expected to officially release its fall schedule today. A WPIX spokeswoman declined comment Monday.
While ‘PIX still scores solid ratings in access, the WB’s Gotham flagship has recently seen some softening in its Nielsen numbers for the timeslot as shows such as “Family Matters” and “Fresh Prince” continue to age. By contrast, “Frasier” is in its second year in syndication, while Warner Bros.’ “Friends” is making its off-network bow this fall.
Anticipating WPIX’s access moves, WNYW last week announced last week plans to double-pump “The Simpsons” from 7 to 8 p.m. this fall. WWOR is also going younger in access, scheduling new-to-syndication episodes of “Sister, Sister” for 7 p.m., followed by “Martin” at 7:30 p.m.
As for the other access competish in the market, WCBS is shifting “Entertainment Tonight” to 7 p.m. to make room for the new “Hollywood Squares” at 7:30 p.m. WNBC is sticking with “Extra” and “Access Hollywood,” while time-period leader WABC will continue airing “Jeopardy!” and “Wheel of Fortune.”