Local TV Eyes Fate of ‘Windy City Live,’ as WLS’s ‘Oprah’ Replacement Stumbles Out of the Gate

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By Andrew Gauthier Comment

It’s still early to be sure but WLS‘s local replacement for the recently departed “Oprah Winfrey Show” has yet to find a strong foothold in the ratings.

Windy City Live,” with hosts Ryan Chiaverini and Val Warner, is the ABC O&O’s big bet that Chicago viewers will tune into a local lifestyle show during the 9 a.m. time slot that served as Oprah’s platform for 25 years. So far the show hasn’t been able to sustain a significant amount of viewers from its “Good Morning America” lead-in and Chicago Tribune media columnist Phil Rosenthal points out that its fate bears significance beyond the time slot.

“There isn’t a smart person in local media, whether they work at WLS or not, who isn’t rooting for ‘WCL’ to prove its viability,” writes Rosenthal:

At risk is not just an ambitious live local television show, but the prospects for anyone else in Chicago commercial TV to get the chance to attempt launching a new live local show that doesn’t just rehash headlines and/or plug local businesses.

Should “WCL” fail despite the backing, resources and power of the No. 1 station in town, it’s only going to reinforce the notion that it makes more sense — business and otherwise — to import mediocre, cheap, generic daytime filler from out of town.

Here’s a clip from “Windy City Live” featuring Minnie Driver: