Are Local TV Stations Getting Back 10 PM Hour For Older Viewers... Or Younger?

Should NBC Television Networks -- and perhaps other broadcast networks -- get closer to a decision on giving back the 10 p.m. time period to their local TV station affiliates?  What type of programming should they run?

The obvious answer to some might be more news content.

But Chris Ripley, president and CEO of Sinclair Broadcast Group, said at a recent industry event:  “You can't just put local news ad infinitum.” He believes that because of the ever-shrinking amount of national TV syndication content, there is space to run more talk and game content during that period.

Sinclair has hired "CSI" creator Anthony Zuiker to do just that -- at least in terms of producing new Sinclair TV station content for many time periods. It could also sell those shows to other non-Sinclair TV stations. 



At the same time, TV station groups also need to balance new production efforts around content that could appear on their own streaming platforms as well as other non-owned digital platforms.

TV stations are not giving up on their local news content focus that many have built up over the last decade or so. But they will be looking for innovation.

Catherine Badalamente, president and CEO, Graham Media, said at the same event that the company is “experimenting” in terms of how to reinvent news.

This would all make sense -- especially for entertainment-hungry consumers who are always seeking the next new thing. No doubt local, straight-ahead newscasts are still a key draw -- but that is largely attributable to ever-growing numbers of older TV news viewers.

What about young people -- aren't they the next generation of TV viewers? We know that fewer of them see local TV newscasts -- preferring instead to get their news information from social media and other digital platforms.

So how can TV stations get them to sample their content -- even just a little? With entertaining video? Music? Or just honest, straight-ahead journalism?

All that is going to be a tall order. 

And perhaps local TV station core viewers -- who are over 50 or 65, who have a growing number of options -- could be lured away from the likes of Netflix, Hulu and all the rest --- at least some of the time.

What would that take?

2 comments about "Are Local TV Stations Getting Back 10 PM Hour For Older Viewers... Or Younger?".
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  1. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, December 2, 2022 at 3:04 p.m.

    Wayne, what Sinclair is thinking abouit is exactly what the Westinghouse stations did way back in the early- and mid-1960s when  "early show" movies overstayed their welcome due to over exposure plus the advent of top Hollywood film productions on the networks' prime time lineups. Group W produced "The Mike Douglas Show" a gabfest, for its own stations, then syndicated it successfully to many others---mainly major network affiliates--- for the early evening hours. Later Group W followed with "The Merv Griffen Show", intending it to be a parallel late night entry---but soon found tht it worked much better as an early evening talker.

    This is certainly one option for Sinclair, providing that at least two and perhaps all three of the broadcast networks abandons the 10-11PM time slot. If only NBC goes that route, the prospects for a nationlly syndicated show by Sinclair---or anyone else---become more problematic as you cant count on every NBC affiliate---or even a majority of them ---buying the show as many may simply fill the void with news---which appeals to high ticket local advertisers who are willing to pay top CPMs for its "environment"---but not so for talkers. Game shows and entertainment focused newsmags are other possibilities---but, again, only if there are lots of potential station buyers in each market, often counterprogrmming eachother---not just a single NBC affiliate.

    As for younger viewers, forget about it. The chances of luring significant numbers of teens and 18-40s to any show on a major network affiliate at 10PM are, to put it mildly, very slim.

  2. Ben B from Retired, December 2, 2022 at 11:38 p.m.

    A lot of Sinclair programs that they create will only be on their own TV stations CW7 is where they would go in West Michigan where The National Desk is aired for 3 hours 6AM to 9AM & 10:30PM to 12AM M-F. That is where game shows, talkers, etc would go. I think that Wood TV would put on a 10PM newscast if NBC gives back the 10PM hour in my opinion. 

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