Local TV Shows Signs of Strength

By Andrew Gauthier 

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Add local TV to the list of those whose death rumors have been greatly exaggerated.

The past year has not been a kind one for local TV stations: They were expected to end 2009 with lower-than-expected revenues of $15.6 billion, off 22.4% from 2008, had continued to lose influence among their affiliated networks and were subjected to apocalyptic headlines such as “Local TV Stations Face a Fuzzy Future” (that one came from The Wall Street Journal).

But there is a glimmer of hope for this beleaguered media channel. NBC’s decision to move Jay Leno back to his late-night spot could be seen as a huge victory for the network’s local TV affiliates, who detested the programming strategy as Mr. Leno’s tanking ratings delivered smaller audiences to their evening news broadcasts. More…