NBC wrapped up one of its more upbeat affiliate meetings in recent years with station operators pleased with the Peacock Web’s primetime schedule and hopeful for improvements in daytime and “Saturday Night Live.”
“It was a spectacular meeting,” said incoming affiliate board chairman and Pulitzer Broadcasting chief Ken Elkins.
Elkins and NBC TV prez Neil Braun acknowledged that daytime is in need of work. NBC is ranked third in daytime and is working on new shows for fall 1996.
“Yes, there are problems in daytime,” Elkins said, “but you have to acknowledge what NBC has done in primetime.”
Another show marked for change is “Saturday Night Live,” which has seen its ratings fall. NBC has talked with executive producer Lome Michaels about fixing the show.
Still, it was not a complete love-fest for the network and its affiliates. The bulk of NBC affils are at odds with the network over the likely deregulation of the TV industry. NBC wants the current TV station ownership caps relaxed, while affiliates would like to keep the status quo.
While NBC affiliates celebrated the network’s come-back in Hawaii, ABC signed the Peacock Web’s Rockford, Ill. (market 137) affiliate WTVO to a long-term deal.
WTVO is owned by Young Broadcasting, which also owns five other ABC affiliates and three CBS affiliates. Last September, Capital Cities/ABC invested $25 million in Young Broadcasting so as to lock the mid-sized market operator into a long-term affiliation deal.
But the Young-Capital Cities/ABC relationship is not what drove this deal. ABC’s current affiliate in Rockford, WREX, was recently sold by ML Media Partners to Quincy Broadcasting which last month dumped ABC for Fox on its South Bend, Ind. station WSJV. As payback, ABC dropped Quincy in Rockford.
Although ABC’s new affiliate is a UHF on channel 17, network execs are confident they will do as well there as they did on VHF WREX.
According to Nielsen, WREX and WTVO are in a virtual tie in rating and share. The market leader is CBS affiliate WIFR.
While Quincy Broadcasting just switched South Bend to Fox, it is expected to go after NBC in Rockford.