This fall, WGCL-TV, the CBS affiliate, will drop its noon newscast but add a 9 a.m. hour to its “Better Mornings” operation.
“Better Mornings” currently airs from 4:30 a.m. to 7 a.m., followed by two hours of the national show “The Early Show.” “People’s Court” is now the network’s 9 a.m. show, but GCL decided to take that hour local. In recent months, it has been heavily promoting its morning hosts – Brandon Rudat, Tracye Hutchins and Jennifer Valdez – on billboards around town.
“We see the 9am hour as an opportunity to build on the tremendous growth the Better Mornings brand has experienced in the past two years,” said News Director Eric Ludgood in a press release. “This expansion into the mid-mornings takes advantage of a time slot where there is only one other local news option for viewers. The show’s personalities Jennifer Valdez, Tracye Hutchins and Brandon Rudat offer a special blend of news, entertainment and information that is ideal for that time of day.”
Ludgood in the press release said CBS Atlanta management chose to drop the noon newscast because they believe people mid-days are more likely to be checking news online. For Hutchins, who normally anchors the noon hour, this means she won’t have as large a gap in time between anchor jobs each day.
In a very brief interview, Ludgood said there will be no personnel changes as a result of this move.
Ratings for “Better Mornings” have been minuscule since it debuted in 2007, its numbers a small fraction compared to those of the three other local broadcast affiliates that provide news. In April 2010, its 5 a.m. newscast drew a 0.2 rating, which is about 5,000 households. It’s 6 a.m.newscast? A 0.4 rating, or 10,000 households. In comparison, Fox 5 Atlanta’s “Good Day Atlanta” drew a 1.6 rating at 5 a.m., or 40,000 households, and a 2.7 rating at 6 a.m., or 70,000 households.
But “Better Mornings” has improved its numbers in 2011. This past April, it doubled its 5 a.m. share to a 0.4 and its 6 a.m. is now up to a 0.6 rating. The station still has a long way to go to catch up to the other three networks at those early hours. The 6 a.m. show draws about one-quarter the number of viewers third-place 11 Alive garnered in April.
CBS Atlanta’s “People’s Court” at 9 a.m. in April drew a 1.0 rating vs. 4.0 rating at “Regis & Kelly” on Channel 2, the ABC affiliate.
The CBS Atlanta noon newscast actually does better than 11 Alive’s show, thanks partly to the lead in, “The Price is Right.” In its place, the network is moving its national entertainment/features show “Better,” which currently airs at 12:30 p.m. At 1 p.m., CBS Atlanta plans to air a repeat of the previous night’s “Inside Edition,” which airs at 7:30 p.m.
The CW affiliate at 69 will air “The People’s Court” at 11 a.m. starting Sept. 12. It replaces “Judge Pirro,” which has been canceled for the 2011-12 season.
By Rodney Ho, firstname.lastname@example.org, AJCRadioTV blog