Following the release of November ratings that reveal WGRZ-2 is loosing its once-dominant footing in the Buffalo Niagara media market, rumors are swirling that the station’s senior management is hurriedly shaping a bold turnaround plan for the station’s programing.
WIVB-4 is growing its audience significantly and is poised to soon overtake the WGRZ in key demographics and at the prized 5:00, 5:30, and 6:00 time slots. In response, WGRZ pulled back the presence of Mike Wooten and Kelly Dudzik from their high profile anchor slots, positioned opposite Maryalice Demler and Scott Levin.
While Wooten and Dudzik are still considered rising stars at the station, the ratings slump is thought to have slowed their ascension.
It’s been rumored that the station is considering a bold plan to reshape programing across the 5:00 to 6:30 broadcasting slots for its current newscast. Rather than airing three half hour newscasts, the station is considering a Today Show-style format that would step outside of the confines of the traditional local newscast with more conversation, guests, live music, and in-studio interviews.
“They are considering giving Maryalice the sole anchor role for an hour-and-a-half show Monday through Friday,” says one source. “The concept is to have Maryalice in the role of Matt Lauer, sitting around a table surrounded by other journalists and personalities — replacing the nightly newscast with more of an entertainment talk show.”
The source also says that the station is considering contracting Buffalo Rising and Investigative Post to produce much of the talk show’s content.