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CBS Atlanta (WGCL-TV) this fall to add 9 a.m. ‘Better Mornings’ hour, drops noon newscast

Jennifer Valdez, Brandon Rudat & Tracy Hutchins and those tatts on the billboard.

Jennifer Valdez, Brandon Rudat & Tracy Hutchins and those tatts on the billboard.

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.

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By Rodney Ho, rho@ajc.com, AJCRadioTV blog

20 comments Add your comment

Nat Turner

June 23rd, 2011
5:48 pm

Nice guns, Brandon. I would watch it just to watch him flex.

Twinkie The Kid

June 23rd, 2011
7:18 pm

Hey! Did you know that Denny Schaffer left WGKA to take over mornings at WRNO in New Orleans?

Jason

June 23rd, 2011
9:39 pm

Rodney, The CBS network show at 7am is “The Early Show,” not “Early Mornings.” And when talking about the 4 stations that do local news, you referred to them as the “four local networks.” There’s no such thing as a local network. In fact, it’s an oxymoron. Maybe you meant “four network affiliates,” but that would also be wrong, since there are more than four. Also, I think you’re confusing “rating” and “share” when talking about Nielsen ratings.

Rodney Ho

June 23rd, 2011
9:47 pm

Thank you Jason. Fixed.

lr

June 24th, 2011
8:40 am

I watch Better Mornings every day. All 3 personalities are great; and it’s true, Brandon could have his own workout show

michael

June 24th, 2011
9:54 am

Oh, thought maybe we were getting a new Inked! show here in Atlanta.

Traffic Headache

June 24th, 2011
10:23 am

If channel 46 is moving “Better” to Noon, what will take the time period between that and “Bold & The Beautiful” (1 PM – 1:30)?

Rodney Ho

June 24th, 2011
10:34 am

A repeat of “Inside Edition” from the night before will air at 1 p.m.

carlaroqs

June 24th, 2011
10:35 am

@ michael, me too, ewwww

carlaroqs

June 24th, 2011
11:13 am

not that it is bad on the guy, but it is too much on the girls. probably temporary for them.

Eric

June 24th, 2011
11:59 am

I seem to be scratching my head on this one. I get the feeling that WGCL is making a terrible mistake of canning its Noon news in order to accomodate the new 9AM hour of BMA. WGCL is still lacking a male anchor on its evening newscasts. WGCL, back when it was WGNX seemed to do quite well with its News at 10… before CBS left WAGA.

Somedays, I wish that WAGA had never given up its CBS affiliation for FOX. FOX probably won’t be leaving WAGA anytime soon… I loved WAGA as CBS.

CmdrR

June 24th, 2011
2:13 pm

The retreat from a noon position seems like a bad tactical error. But, who knows? Maybe anchors dancing with animals while eating sugary confections and ignoring hard news plays better at 9am than it does at 5am.

Derek

June 24th, 2011
3:35 pm

This is what was mentioned at the last meeting. Meredith is looking at adding Better on its affiliates across the board at 12noon. They wanted it at 4pm, but most stations bawked at that idea. From 10am-5pm, they will only need a few staffers.

Eric

June 24th, 2011
9:03 pm

Another idea for Meredith (in my opinion) would be local talk shows… WGCL keeping its Noon newscast intact. The local show idea may sound like a copy-cat of the local shows seen on most Gannett-owned stations (WXIA’s Atlanta & Company, KUSA’s Colorado & Company, KPNX’s Arizona Midday, WTSP’s Studio 10, etc.)… I figure Gannett must really love the local show fanfare on most of its stations. NBC canned WNBC’s 5PM news in September 2009, in favor of airing local talk show ‘New York Live’ (formerly ‘LX New York’) at 5PM… it’s unclear if other NBC O&O’s will get a local show similar to that of WNBC.

Eric

June 24th, 2011
9:11 pm

I could picture Meredith’s ‘Better’ being syndicated nationwide… additional non-Meredith markets seeing this show. I could picture Media General’s ‘Daytime’ being syndicated nationwide as well… non-MG markets seeing the show. NBC’s ‘Access Hollywood Live’ talk show being picked up by additional affiliates as well. I believe 20th/FOX Television is set to conduct a test run of ‘The Father Albert Show’ (headlined by Alberto Cutie) on 6 FOX O&O in 2012… Unfortunately, Atlanta’s WAGA is not a participating station.

[...] 9 A.M. News.  Michael Malone at B&C reports that the Meredith station will dump its noon news. Rodney Ho at the AJC.com has more on the [...]

T.R.

June 25th, 2011
10:54 am

I think Better Mornings should move Jennifer to the evening shift and move Markina Brown to Better Mornings. Then change the name of the show to “Great Mornings”. You cannot go wrong with Tracye and Markina.

Eric

June 26th, 2011
12:08 am

Speaking fo Jennifer Valdez, my grandmother and I have noticed that she’s pregnant. According to her cbsatlanta.com blog, she’s 33 weeks (as of June 24, 2011), and is due in August… I assume we may likely be seeing Cris Martinez and Justin Lock rotating weather anchor duties on BMA while Jen’s on maternity leave.

TVboy

June 26th, 2011
11:47 pm

yes, this is probably a good move. noon newscasts are a dime a dozen these days and aren’t really needed. i will say this, i do like cbsAtlanta News at 4 — alot!

tony

July 11th, 2011
8:56 pm

these jerks look like trailor park trash everytime i see the billboards 46 is in last place news ratings