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WKYC's 'Matlock' Pre-Emption an Inventory Play

WKYC Cleveland pre-empted NBC's Feb. 28 primetime lineup for
a two-hour Matlock movie, which
Brooke Spectorsky, president and general manager of WKYC, said was purely about
maximizing station inventory. Pre-empted were reruns of The Office and Law &
Order: SVU
, along with a new episode of 1600
, though Spectorsky says the station was under the impression that the
latter was to be a repeat.

NBC's primetime has reverted to a slump after its
high-flying fall, but Spectorsky took pains to stress that the pre-emption had
nothing to do with the network's primetime performance. He said the station
typically runs a Matlock special,
where it gets all the inventory, in the first quarter.

"We made a local decision," he said. "We've
done it the last 10 years and usually do quite well. Older folks appreciate Matlock."

Station affiliates have a certain degree of leeway when it
comes to pre-empting network programming.

An NBC rep declined comment.

WKYC shifted the prime shows to a 1 a.m. start. The
preemption was previously reported on

Spectorsky said Matlock:
The Legacy
, a '92 film starring Andy Griffith, did a 2 household rating/3.3
share, rating a little less than a typical Thursday night of reruns on NBC, while beating repeats of Scandal and a Jimmy Kimmel Oscar special on ABC in men 25-54.

A legal drama, Matlock
ran on NBC from 1986 to 1992, then through 1995 on ABC.

Spectorsky quipped that WKYC is considering an
all Matlock dot-two channel.

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.