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EXCLUSIVE: Tyra Banks' Talk Show Shifting From Syndication To CW

Warner Bros.’ The Tyra Banks Show is departing first-run syndication next September and moving to afternoon slots on Warner Bros.’ co-owned The CW.

After four years in first run, the show will air in double runs from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. on The CW, replacing Judge Jeanine Pirro and repeats of The Wayans Bros. and The Jamie Foxx Show. As a cost-cutting measure, Tyra will go into 26 weeks of original production down from a current schedule of 34 weeks. A “best-of” episode will air from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m. with an original episode of Tyra airing from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m.

“In its four seasons on the air, Tyra has built a devoted audience among women 18–49 while helping stations grow among the young female viewers that associate strongly with Tyra herself,” said Ken Werner, president of Warner Bros. Domestic Television Distribution.

In moving to The CW, The Tyra Banks Show joins the network that made her a television star with America’s Next Top Model. That reality show’s 11th season finale on Wednesday night won its time period among adults 18-34 and hit its best ratings in a year. 

“The addition of The Tyra Banks Show to The CW’s Monday through Friday afternoon block further unifies our brand as a destination for women and serves as the ideal companion to bridge daytime and primetime, for our network and our affiliated stations,” said John Maatta, The CW’s chief operating officer. “We think moving Tyra to network affiliates who have enjoyed such tremendous success with Top Model creates a great opportunity for the network to broaden its appeal in early fringe, as well as advantage our show. The strategic alignment of interests for stations, The CW and The Tyra Banks Show makes all the sense in the world.”

Tyra hovers around a 1.0 or 1.1 live plus same day household rating, keeping the show in the lower tier of talk shows from that standpoint. But the demos tell another story. Most of that audience is young women: Tyra is the only talk show in syndication to grow year to year among women 18-34, averaging a 1.0 in the demo, up 25% from last year. Among women 18-49, Tyra averages a 0.8. Those demographics plus strong production values makes Tyra appealing to advertisers. 

Still, Tyra will need to prove itself to its new CW affiliates. Sean Compton, senior vice president of programming and entertainment for Tribune Broadcasting, The CW’s largest station group, said “I find it frustrating that I’m learning about these decisions from the trades and other syndicators instead of from Warner Bros.” 

As a result of the move, Warner Bros. is offering Judge Jeanine Pirro to the syndication marketplace for fall 2009. Keeping two original hours on The CW in the afternoon would be too expensive, Werner said. 

The past few months of economic trouble have been particularly hard on TV stations, forcing them to cut costs across the board. Syndicated shows with cash license fees are one of the first areas in which stations are looking to make cuts.

“These are very challenging economic times for television stations and distributors,” said Werner. “It’s forced everyone to confront a new economic order and come up with creative ways to meet their financial objectives.” 

TV stations paid cash license fees for Tyra, and also gave Warner Bros. national advertising time in the show. The CW is getting Tyra on an all–barter basis.