Tribune, the largest owner of CW affiliates, is pleased with the network’s announcement that it’s giving back Sunday nights to the affiliates to program. Senior V.P. of Programming & Entertainment Sean Compton says the Tribune CWs, including WGN Chicago, WPIX New York and KTLA Los Angeles, will fill the vacated time with a mix of films, syndicated programming and local news.
“It’s a wonderful thing for us,” he says. “Sundays are the most competitive night in television, and it had been a big challenge for [CW].”
Compton says Tribune has reupped a movie deal with MGM, and will work with the film giant to better suit movies for specific markets. Most station groups owning CWs are expected to extend their pacts with MGM. Tribune will also move some late fringe programming, such as Family Guy and According to Jim, into earlier slots. “Those types of programming we’ll probably find a better home for than late night,” said Compton, who added that upcoming syndication releases such as Bones may also help fill out the Sunday grid.
With several of Tribune’s CW affiliates airing live sports on Sundays, such as the Mets on WPIX and the Cubs on WGN, Compton said the stations will have more leeway in case the games run long. He also said some of the larger markets can use the extra time for local programming. “I think markets such as New York, Los Angeles and Chicago can expand news or other local product,” says Compton.
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Michael Malone, senior content producer at B+C/Multichannel News, covers network programming, including entertainment, news and sports on broadcast, cable and streaming; and local broadcast television. He hosts the podcasts Busted Pilot, about what’s new in television, and Series Business, a chat with the creator of a new program, and writes the column “The Watchman.” He joined B+C in 2005. His journalism has also appeared in The New York Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Playboy and New York magazine.