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WPIX nabs ‘Maury’ as WNBC mulls moves

Roker yakker may be in wings

NEW YORK — “Maury” is changing addresses in New York City. The daily syndicated talkshow hour from Studios USA hosted by Maury Povich is switching from WNBC to WPIX on Jan. 17.

Industry sources said WPIX will keep the series in its 10 a.m. timeslot and pay the license fee of about $37,5000 a week.

WNBC’s willingness to let Studios USA out of its long-term contract for “Maury” could reignite rumors that the station is preparing to greenlight a talkshow featuring “Today” show weatherman Al Roker. A Roker-hosted show would start exclusively on WNBC, according to this scenario, and if it captured a substantial local audience, the station would sell it to a national distributor.

Buena Vista TV’s “Ainslee Harriott Show,” which premieres in firstrun syndication on Jan. 10, will serve as the replacement for “Maury” on WNBC at 10. The station had originally slated “Harriott” for noon to succeed the canceled NBC network soap opera “Sunset Beach.”

Initially, WNBC will fill the noon time period with rerun half-hours of “Extra” and “Access Hollywood.” NBC owns a 50% equity stake in each of the two shows, scheduling the first run of “Extra” at 7 p.m. and of “Access Hollywood” at 7:30 p.m.

WPIX jumped at the chance to get its hands on “Maury” because the station’s parent company, Tribune Entertainment, has canceled the daily syndicated hour “Dreammaker,” hosted by Richard Simmons, which suffered from anemic national Nielsen ratings.

By continuing to strip “Maury” at 10, where the series finishes second in the time period to the Rosie O’Donnell show on WABC, WPIX will shift the current 10 a.m. occupant, the syndicated “Judge Mathis,” to 1 p.m. That move will push back the two half-hour series “Change of Heart” and “Real TV” to 2 p.m., where “Dreammaker” had settled in.

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