As stations around the country prepare to launch newscasts in Oprah’s long-held time slot, many are questioning the thinking behind replacing a syndicated juggernaut with an expansion of local news.
“Oprah” cost the station $60,000 an episode, or as much as $1.2 million a month, and while the large audience brought in buckets of advertising cash, the station had to share it with a syndication agent.
With the local news, it may be losing the $50,000 “Oprah” commanded for a local 30-second spot for something like $2,000 a spot during its local news, but it gets to keep all of the fewer ad dollars that roll in.
And producing an hour of news isn’t quite as pricey as buying “Oprah.”
While Madison Avenue experts wonder if, say, WABC’s decision to air a 4 p.m. newscast will pay off, stations are hoping that a post-“Oprah” world will be a profitable one.