‘Martin’ will make way for news on WCBS

Yakker gets 1:30 a.m. slot

Eye-owned Gotham outlet WCBS-TV will launch a 4 p.m. newscast beginning in January, giving short shrift to King World’s syndie talk strip “The Martin Short Show.”

“Martin Short” will be downgraded to a 1:30 a.m. slot on the station.

WCBS’ decision to kick the talker out of the 4 p.m. time period comes as no surprise, given the yakker’s low November sweeps ratings in New York.

“Martin Short” averaged a 1.2 Nielsen rating, 3 share on WCBS for the month, landing in a tie for sixth place in the time period, even behind Univision affil WXTV’s “Cristina.” WNBC’s “Judge Judy” won the time period with a 7.5/19.

King World execs would not comment, but planned to release a statement today about the “Martin Short” move.

The downgrade comes despite the recent acquisition of King World by CBS.

Synergy might not have helped “Martin Short” remain at 4 p.m., but given King World’s track record of sticking with projects ( “Roseanne,” for example), the distributor is expected to announce it’s still behind the strip.

Meanwhile, the decision to expand WCBS’ news presence also comes as the station’s newscasts continue to lag far behind those of WABC and WNBC.

WCBS will become the only station in the market to air a 4 p.m. newscast, WCBS veep/general manager Tony Petitti said Monday. Besides “Judge Judy,” the new hour will also face off against ratings powerhouse “The Oprah Winfrey Show” on WABC.

“Creating this new 4 p.m. broadcast affords us the opportunity to achieve significant gains in the time period, while extending News 2’s brand throughout the day,” Petitti said.

CNBC business and financial reporter Amanda Grove will ankle the business cabler to co-anchor the 4 p.m. broadcast along with Dana Tyler, who also co-anchors WNBC’s 5 and 11 p.m. newscasts.

Grove had been at CNBC since 1996. She was previously a reporter and anchor for regional news web BAY-TV San Francisco. Before that, she served as deputy district attorney in San Mateo County.

The femme-centric pairing of Tyler and Grove makes WCBS the second Eye-owned station to attempt to land women at 4 p.m. This fall KCBS launched “Women 2 Women News” at the hour; the show has been a ratings dud.

A CBS spokesman said WCBS’ 4 p.m. report would be a standard newscast and will not be similar to “Women 2 Women News.”

(Josef Adalian and Chris Pursell contributed to this report.)

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