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Dr. Oz, Dr. Phil poised to take Oprah hour in Washington

Oprah Winfrey's syndicated talk show isn't heading off to that Big Pontiac Giveaway in the Sky until the fall of 2011, but the race to fill her ratings shoes at 4 o'clock officially kicked off in Washington this week.

Daytime doctors "Phil" and "Oz" are switching stations in '11 and both will become players in Oprah's timeslot after she's gone.

"Dr. Oz" is moving from our CBS station, WUSA, to Fox station, WTTG; meanwhile "Dr. Phil" is decamping from WTTG and going to WUSA.

Oprah announced last November she would shutter her long-running daytime talker at the end of the 2010-11 TV season in order to focus her attention on her cable Opray Winfrey Network, on which she's partnered with Silver Spring-based Discovery.

Oprah's talk show is still tops in daytime ratings. In Washington; March through May her show averaged 35,200 women between the ages of 25 and 54. Those viewers are the hot blondes of daytime TV in the eyes of Madison Avenue ad suits.

Neither older "Dr. Phil," nor rookie "Dr. Oz," have aired in Oprah's timeslot to date because both doctors have relations with Oprah's Harpo Productions and Oprah's no fool and had clauses that precluded either from competing directly against her.

According to industry sources, negotiations for "Dr. Oz" opened and closed very quickly. On WTTG, "Dr. Oz" will replace two judge shows -- "Judge Joe Brown" and "Judge Judy" -- which currently finish a distant second to Oprah at 4. Judges shows are generally considered less desirable by advertisers than doc-talkers because their audiences tend to be more downscale.

On WUSA, older "Dr. Phil" will be replacing "Doctors" at 4; "Doctors" currently finishes laps behind Oprah among those hot women viewers.

Both doctor shows have been airing at 3 this season in Washington. In the past 90 days, "Dr. Phil" has attracted more 25-54 year old chick viewers in the timeslot by a healthy margin. On the other hand, "Dr. Phil" is an old show (it launched way back in 2002) while "Dr. Oz" only debuted last fall and so, in theory, has a lot more growth potential.

And Sony, which distributes "Dr. Oz" for Harpo, likes to point out that in seven TV markets where "Dr. Oz" is the lead-in to a local newscast, those newscasts increased their ratings by 30 percent, year to year. Oprah is, of course, the lead-in for WJLA's 5 o'clock news which, in turn, is the lead-in for it's 6 o'clock newscast.

By Lisa de Moraes  |  June 18, 2010; 6:46 PM ET
Categories:  Local TV  
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Lisa, only 32,500 viewers per show? Did you leave off several zeros?
If not, I'm shocked.

Posted by: disposall | June 21, 2010 1:58 PM | Report abuse

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