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Local TV Eyes Fate of ‘Windy City Live,’ as WLS’s ‘Oprah’ Replacement Stumbles Out of the Gate

It’s still early to be sure but WLS‘s local replacement for the recently departed “Oprah Winfrey Show” has yet to find a strong foothold in the ratings.

Windy City Live,” with hosts Ryan Chiaverini and Val Warner, is the ABC O&O’s big bet that Chicago viewers will tune into a local lifestyle show during the 9 a.m. time slot that served as Oprah’s platform for 25 years. So far the show hasn’t been able to sustain a significant amount of viewers from its “Good Morning America” lead-in and Chicago Tribune media columnist Phil Rosenthal points out that its fate bears significance beyond the time slot.

“There isn’t a smart person in local media, whether they work at WLS or not, who isn’t rooting for ‘WCL’ to prove its viability,” writes Rosenthal:

At risk is not just an ambitious live local television show, but the prospects for anyone else in Chicago commercial TV to get the chance to attempt launching a new live local show that doesn’t just rehash headlines and/or plug local businesses.

Should “WCL” fail despite the backing, resources and power of the No. 1 station in town, it’s only going to reinforce the notion that it makes more sense — business and otherwise — to import mediocre, cheap, generic daytime filler from out of town.

Here’s a clip from “Windy City Live” featuring Minnie Driver:

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