Gotham O&O cans ‘Geraldo’

WCBS will instead air 'Real TV' in 3 p.m. slot starting Jan. 5

NEW YORK — WCBS has shelved Tribune Entertainment talker “Geraldo Rivera,” nine months before its scheduled national demise.

The O&O will pull “Geraldo” at 3 p.m., beginning Jan. 5, adding back-to-back runs of Par’s “Real TV,” where a single installment now runs at 7.

“Hard Copy” returns to 7, and is replaced at 4:30 by a second consecutive run of “Judge Judy,” a move designed to further improve WCBS’s early news numbers.

“Geraldo,” scheduled to end in August under terms of Rivera’s expanded deal with NBC News, is in lame-duck status, but the New York move may lead other outlets to drop the show early.

Still, despite speculation that the show could be cleared on Tribune-owned WPIX, sources there say they expect WCBS to fulfill its contract by airing the barter spots elsewhere or by running the show in an overnight time period.

Separately, WCBS has decided to end a move that shortened its 11 p.m. newscast by five minutes, to half an hour, in an effort to fulfill the “more news, less time” promo pledge (now expected to be dropped) and provide an early start for “Late Show With David Letterman.”

Neither the newscast nor Letterman was helped by the move earlier this year, but the real value in the return to 35 minutes, effective Jan. 26 — in time for the Feburary sweeps and the Winter Olympics — is to add more commercial inventory to boost revenues.