CBS stations snag Weakest Link

Three top market CBS O&O stations, including WCBS-TV New York, have snapped up NBC Enterprises' syndicated version of The Weakest Link.

The strip, slated for afternoon time slots on those stations, is set to roll out the second week of January 2002. A host still needs to be cast for the syndicated Weakest Link. But apparently that fact didn't deter CBS stations, also including KPIX-TV San Francisco and WJZ-TV Baltimore, from latching on - many of which are arguably on the hunt for a good afternoon news lead-in after recent failures like The Howie Mandel Show and Dr. Laura.

"Certainly, some CBS stations have great room for growth in the afternoons," said a CBS station spokesperson who noted more CBS outlets could pick up the show in the near future. "This will help us accomplish that."

The move is interesting, considering none of the NBC-owned outlets in New York, Baltimore and San Francisco grabbed the Weakest Link strip. NBC Enterprises recently struck a distribution arrangement with the NBC O&O, Gannett Broadcasting and Hearst-Argyle stations, giving those outlets the first opportunity to acquire shows they produce. In fact, those groups make up the launch group for NBC's upcoming talk strip The Other Half. However, NBC Enterprises has been pushing stations to plug the high-profile Weakest Link in afternoon and access, but several outlets, NBC stations included, already have shows locked into those attractive dayparts past 2002. Examples include news magazines Extra and Access Hollywood.
- Susanne Ault