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WLS Takes Morning Ratings Hit After Recent Schedule Changes

When Chicago’s WLS dropped its 11:00 a.m. newscast to make room for “Live with Kelly and Michael,” it may have done the right thing for parent company Disney but the wrong thing for its viewers.

Robert Feder reports the station’s 25 year run of being number one in the mornings may be coming to an end for the ABC owned station.

Since the new schedule debuted Sept. 2, according to Nielsen figures, ABC 7′s overall ratings are down 13 percent at 9 a.m., 29 percent at 10 a.m. (with ABC’s “The View”), and 36 percent at 11 a.m. In the 25-to-54 adult demo, ratings are down 11 percent at 9 a.m., 41 percent at 10 a.m. and 46 percent at 11 a.m.

Feder also said “ABC7 News This Morning” has dropped out of the top spot from 5:00 a.m. to 7:00 a.m. weekdays in overall audience and in adults 25-54.

To make room for “Live with Kelly and Michael,” which used to air on CW affiliate WGN, WLS moved the locally produced “Windy City Live” to 11:00 a.m. and canceled the popular newscast which had aired in that time slot for more than 20 years. Though WLS added news and weather hits to “Windy City Live,” Feder said it might not be enough for viewers.

WLS president and general manager John Idler told Feder he was confident in the schedule changes and warned about looking too hard at the ratings changes after only a few weeks, “It’s getting to be a better and better story each day. I would argue that the audience is still finding the program on another television station. It hasn’t transferred over directly, but after week after week, they’re finding the program.”

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