NBC O&Os have been home to Warner Bros.’ “Ellen DeGeneres” since the series’ debut in 2003. DeGeneres has solidified her place as the top-rated daytime talker among women in the four years since Oprah Winfrey ended her run in syndication.
“For more than a decade, ‘Ellen’ has anchored the daytime lineups of the NBC-owned stations, offering our viewers a great afternoon show, delivering a strong lead in for our early evening newscasts and helping to launch new hits,” said Valari Staab, president of NBCUniversal Owned Television Stations.
Warner Bros.’ previous pact for “Ellen” with NBC stations ran through the 2016-17 season. The early renewal is a sign of the show’s importance to the NBC O&Os, which cover New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Philadelphia, Dallas, San Francisco, Washington, D.C., Miami, San Diego and Hartford, Conn.
“Day in and day out Ellen delivers the best show on television. Ellen and her team produce a completely unique and exciting hour, which is appointment television for viewers everywhere,” said Warner Bros. Domestic TV Distribution TV president Ken Werner.
The “Ellen DeGeneres” renewal comes as the NBCUniversal Television Distribution confirmed the cancellation of “The Meredith Vieira Show” at the close of this season.
To fill the hole in the daytime schedule left by Vieira’s departure, NBC stations in New York and Los Angeles and two other markets will add 4 p.m. newscasts (most of the others already have 4 p.m. newscasts). That marks the first newscast in the time slot for WNBC-TV New York and the first 4 p.m. newscast for KNBC-TV Los Angeles since 2002. The newscast launches mean “Ellen DeGeneres” will slide back an hour from the 4 p.m. slot in New York and L.A. to 3 p.m.
The flagship NBC stations’ decision to add another hour of afternoon news is a loss of prime real estate for syndicators. But with the dismal track record of first-run launches during the past few years, it’s no surprise that NBCU would opt for news over even another NBCU-produced syndicated offering.
“Our stations have done a great job building their news teams, enterprising stories and delivering our viewers the local news, weather and information that is important to them,” said Staab.