West Coast outlets could opt against primetime rebroadcast

Exclusive: At least two Fox affiliates on the West Coast have decided against re-running the Emmy Awards telecast in primetime on Sept. 18.

The network could see a dent in the telecast’s primetime ratings if stations in sizable markets run local programming instead. But per their contract with Fox, affils decide whether or not to run the Emmys again after the telecast airs live across the country at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT.

NBC saw most of its West Coast affiliates rebroadcast the Emmys last year, the first time the Emmys didn’t air via tape delay on the West Coast.

But a majority of Fox affils run local news at 10 p.m. If West Coast stations were to rebroadcast the three-hour Emmys at 8 p.m., the news would be pushed back to 11 o’clock or later, if the kudocast runs long.

Fox-affiliated stations in San Diego and San Francisco, neither of which are O&Os, confirmed they won’t re-air Emmys in primetime.

At KTVU-TV in the Bay Area, program manager Eric Casella was hesitant about moving the 10 o’clock news to 11 p.m. and upsetting local auds. “We didn’t want to disrupt our viewers’ schedule,” Casella said.

San Diego affiliate KSWB-TV was planning to offer a local newscast at 8 p.m. and then go with two hours of “Family Guy” and “American Dad” repeats.

KTVU plans to air local program “Malou Review” at 8 o’clock, followed by an episode of “Seinfeld” and “House” before the 10 p.m. news.

Fox can’t force its affiliates to air the rebroadcast because its contracts with them dictate that the network must give back to them the amount of time they take with something like the Emmys. The stations also get to keep all ad revenue derived from that compensatory period.

What affiliates cannot do is cut away from the Emmy telecast at 10 p.m. to make room for local news. Either a station airs the kudocast completely or not at all.

Last year, most West Coast NBC affils agreed to the rebroadcast, with the exception of Seattle and Portland.

While NBC saw strong ratings in markets like New York where the event aired live in primetime, audience levels in West Coast markets lagged behind because HUT levels are significantly lower in the afternoon. The 2010 Emmy ratings exceeded the previous year only by calculating a cumed rating of unduplicated viewers, which totaled 13.50 million.

However, given that the Emmys are airing three weeks later than last year, at a time when many more viewers are watching the NFL, Fox could see better sampling at 5 p.m. PT.

Turning over primetime isn’t entirely new notion at Fox given the network’s West Coast stations are often left with airtime to fill when there’s just one NFC game during football season, a time when some affils elect to run reruns of “The Simpsons.”

Fox affils in the Mountain and Central time zones are not affected.

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