TOO MUCH OF A GOOD THING, OR HOW P-O'D WILL THE AFFILIATES GET?
NBC announced last week that it would expand it's morning news/information show Today to a fourth hour beginning this fall. The decision would have the 50-year-old franchise running Monday through Friday from 7:00 until 11:00 AM, only a couple of years after adding a third hour. Primary hosts Matt Lauer and Merideth Viera will not participate in the expanded programme; weather guy Al Roker and newsreader Ann Curry will stick around for the honours.
Lauer has hinted that the added hour, which will primarily consist of lifestyle features, could end up diluting the Today brand.
"You go into something like this with slightly mixed emotions," Lauer told the room. "The one thing you don't want to happen is for it to dilute the brand. ... When you have a product that's good, you want people to want more of it, as opposed to less of it."
What I'm surprised about is that the affiliates haven't revolted. Local stations treasure their windows to sell advertising for either their own locally produced programming or syndicated material such as Judge Mathis or The Martha Stewart Show, and usually don't appreciate it when the network takes "their" time.
At Tampa's WFLA-TV, a fourth hour of Today --- if NewsChannel 8 chooses to clear it --- would likely bump Daytime, which is produced by it's in-house Riverbank Studio and syndicated to six other stations across the Southeast, or move it to 11:00 AM which would scratch or move the station's midday newscast.
It's a tough thing to do. Too much of a good thing can wear out after awhile.