Another ‘Blind Date’ set up in top markets

Half-hour dating show gets prime access slot in L.A.

Universal Worldwide Television has secured a batch of additional runs for its soph syndie dating show “Blind Date” in markets across the country, including the nation’s top two.

On Chris-Craft’s KCOP Los Angeles, where the half-hour “Blind Date” consistently rates higher than any other syndie show on the station, it is getting a third run, during the prime access 7:30 p.m. time period.

That’s the slot from which “Arrest & Trial” is being downgraded (Daily Variety, March 7). The 7:30 “Blind Date” run will be added to the show’s 6 and 11 p.m. runs. While many syndie strips enjoy double runs, it’s less common for a show to be granted a triple run by a station, so the move is a bit of victory and validation for the show and distribber, which also recently clinched major clearances for its follow-up to “Blind Date,” “The Fifth Wheel” (Daily Variety, March 5).

KCOP is waiting until April 2 to make the sked changes. At that time, the UPN affil will have “Seinfeld” reruns to air (they’re expected to be skedded at 7 p.m.).

Starting on March 19, New York Chris-Craft station WWOR will add a second run of “Blind Date,” and it will add an hourlong weekend block March 17.

During the week, the strip will air at 11 and 11:30 p.m. (it currently airs at 11). On the weekends, the hour block will air Saturdays 7 to 8 p.m.

The “Blind Date” weekend block is currently cleared on stations repping coverage of 70% of the country. With the New York addition and some others upcoming, the level is expected to reach about 80%.

KCOP already airs the weekend hour Saturdays at 6 p.m.

Matt Cooperstein, senior VP of domestic TV syndication for U, said the extra clearances during the week could add two-tenths of a national household ratings point to the show’s strip average almost immediately. It earned a 2.2 national household rating for the week ending Feb. 25, according to Nielsen.

That’s up 10% over the same week last year; most syndies have posted rating perfs down from a year ago.

Stations in four other markets also have or are set to add third runs of “Blind Date.”

In Houston, the nation’s 11th-biggest market, KPRC added a third run in January; the show airs at 12 and 12:30 a.m., and 12:30 p.m.

In Seattle, market No. 12, KTWB added a third run in February; it airs at 6, 6:30 and 10 p.m.

On Monday, Phoenix’s KUTP will add a 10:30 p.m. run to its sked, which already includes 5:30 and 10 p.m. runs.

And in San Diego, KSWB added a 6:30 p.m. run last week. Station also airs the show at noon and 10:30 p.m.

Second and third runs will generally consist of reruns of “Blind Date” episodes that aired in the primary run at least four to five weeks prior. During rating sweeps, however, the primary and secondary runs feature original episodes.

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