NEW YORK — King World is turning “Dr. Phil” into a rare 7 p.m. show in Detroit, Sacramento and Orlando as part of its three-year renewals through the 2008-09 season.
Roger King, CEO of King World, said “Dr. Phil” will end up trumping “The Oprah Winfrey Show” in a number of markets by shifting either to more desirable 7 or 5 p.m. slots while “Oprah,” also a King World show, stands pat at 4 p.m. The highest-rated talkshow in syndication by far, “Oprah” is racking up some of its best Nielsens in five years. Many TV stations use “Oprah” as a compatible lead-in to their local newscasts at 5.
KW has a clause in its contracts that prohibits stations from scheduling “Dr. Phil” directly against “Oprah.” In Detroit, therefore, King World got Viacom-owned TV station WWJ to agree to strip “Dr. Phil” at 7 starting in fall 2006, taking it away from the Post-Newsweek station WDIV, which carries it at 3 p.m. (Viacom is KW’s parent company.)
To get the 5 p.m. timeslot on Post Newsweek’s WPLG Miami for “Dr. Phil” in fall 2006, King World has not renewed its existing contract with a Viacom-owned station, WFOR.
In Boston, WBZ has agreed to shift “Dr. Phil” from 3 to 5 p.m. in fall ’06. WKMG, the Post-Newsweek station in Orlando, will move “Dr. Phil” from 3 to 7 p.m.
These upgrades should allow “Dr. Phil” to harvest double-digit license-fee increases in the new contracts and pump up the value of the 3½ minutes King World holds back from each hour to sell to national advertisers.
KW has cleared “Dr. Phil” through 2008-09 in almost 50% of the country.