The Tribune Company claims to Broadcasting & Cable that one reason it’s suffering is because its relatively successful syndicated programming and local newscasts are mismatched with its CW primetime lineups in 13 of its 19 markets.
And that disconnect is felt at many of Tribune’s stations, say company executives. “Part of the problem is that our primetime is trying to be hipper than our TV stations,” says one Tribune insider who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the exec’s business relationship with The CW. “Our stations are programmed very much like independents all day long, and then our primetime shows are too hip for the room. A big chunk of your revenue should be coming from primetime. If we had prime fixed, or at least working somewhat, we’d be so much better off.”
We’ve written often about the fact that it’s the conventional wisdom that the CW loses money as a broadcast network, but that its owners (CBS, Warner Brothers) recoup those losses with the gains in the value of the shows they produce for the network (all the current scripted CW shows).
But all the CW local affiliates suffer from its primetime ratings losses as well (the Tribune is just the most visible, and likely most desperate, among them) and how will they recoup their losses?