As local stations set their fall schedules of syndicated shows, the biggest shake-up won't involve a newcomer but a returning series: "Dr. Phil" will move from mornings on WTAE to 3 p.m. weekdays on KDKA.
Channel 2 will use "Phil" as a platform to promote the three-hour news block that follows, a move similar to one the station announced and quickly abandoned in 2001. (At that time, a previous management regime wanted to move "Young and the Restless" to 4 p.m. to help boost the 5 p.m. news ratings, but CBS corporate put the kibosh on it.)
"Clearly we didn't make a decision like this without corporate and network approval," said KDKA general manager Chris Pike.
Come fall, KDKA's "Pittsburgh Today Live" will move to 9 a.m. ("Martha" shifts to WPCW at the same time), with "Guiding Light" at 10 a.m.
Pike noted that several other CBS-owned and -operated stations, including those in New York, Chicago, Philadelphia and Boston, also run "Guiding Light" in the morning. "We're not exactly pioneers."
A new talk show starring Food Network cooking expert Rachael Ray will take the "Dr. Phil" spot at 10 a.m. on Channel 4.
So why would "Dr. Phil," one of daytime's top-rated talk shows, move from one station to another? Although it's distributed by KingWorld, a CBS company, Pike said corporate synergy was not an issue because KingWorld has a stake in most of what's popular in syndication today, including Ray's talk show.
"I'd like to think they'd love to have this show on KDKA, but I suspect, like most decisions, the financial part of it was a big factor," Pike said. "I suspect our offer was considerably better."
WTAE general manager Rick Henry did not return a call seeking comment.
Local news demos
Demographic ratings, the kind that show not just how many people are watching but what type of people, based on age and gender, show both KDKA and WTAE made strides in some key time periods, while WPXI was generally flat or fell behind its year-ago position.
There are many different demographics covered in Nielsen's May 2006 ratings book, but the two demos of most interest to advertisers are persons 25-54 and women 25-54.
Among persons, KDKA improved its position at 4 p.m. and 5 p.m., WTAE improved at 6 a.m. and noon and WPXI did better at 5 a.m.
Among women, KDKA improved at 6 a.m., 4 p.m., 5 p.m. and 6 p.m., WTAE was up at 6 a.m., noon and 5 p.m. and WPXI improved at 4 p.m.
Biggest tumbles: WPXI by two points in women at 11 p.m., one point in persons and women at 6 a.m. and 6 p.m.; WTAE by one point in persons and women at 4 p.m.
At 10 p.m. WPGH was flat in both demos year-to-year, while WPCW was up one point in both demos.
Nielsen's rating book also reveals how local stations stack up in household ratings on the weekend. Saturdays at 6 p.m., KDKA came in first, WPXI was second and WTAE third. Sunday at the same hour, WPXI was first, WTAE second and "The CBS Evening News" on KDKA was third.
At 11 p.m. on Saturdays in May, KDKA was first, WPXI was second and WTAE was third. On Sundays, WTAE came in first, KDKA was second and WPXI third.
Channel 11's David Johnson and John Fedko recorded introductions and transitions for "Sammartino: Secrets of a Survivor" (9 p.m. Sunday, WPXI), the bulk of which comes from the Glyph Inc. Productions DVD release, "Behind the Championship Belt," available at www.brunobrunobruno.com.
The hourlong program, which repeats at 10 p.m. Monday on PCNC, chronicles Sammartino's childhood in Italy, his family's move to America, his rise into wrestling and the many challenges he faced along the way.
PCNC salutes baseball
PCNC will air programming in prime time devoted to the All-Star Game. The programming begins Monday and continues through July 10, including Roberto Clemente's last television interviews, past Pirates World Series games and a look back at the Negro League and the role of the Homestead Grays and Pittsburgh Crawfords in its history.
For details, visit www.wpxi.com/pcnc/.
Comedy Central has acquired the rights to at least 13 new, yet-to-be-produced episodes of the canceled Fox series "Futurama." Comedy Central previously acquired 72 reruns of the show. Reruns and new episodes will begin airing in 2008.
CBS canceled the awful summer series "Tuesday Night Book Club" after two episodes. ... Pittsburgh native Lamman Rucker, who had a recurring role on UPN's "Half & Half," appears in the film "Let's Talk," about a couple who must confront the issue of HIV testing, airing at noon Sunday on BET. ... "Viva Baseball," a recent Spike TV documentary about Latinos in baseball that included a look at Pirates star Roberto Clemente, won top prize in the sports category at the BANFF World Television Awards.
Tuned In Journal
This week's Tuned In Journal posts have included a look at NBC's "America's Got Talent," Bob Schieffer's bobble-head doll, TNT's "The Closer," The N's "Whistler" and AMC's "Broken Trail."
Read the Tuned In Journal daily at www.post-gazette.com/tv/tunedin.
This week's TV Q&A responds to questions about summer TV, pledge on WQED and Pittsburgh's local TV news obsession. Read it online at www.post-gazette.com/tv.
TV editor Rob Owen can be reached at email@example.com or 412-263-2582.