NBC affiliate airs 'Matlock' instead of network's Thursday shows

ANDY-GRIFFITH

Image Credit: Everett Collection

UPDATED: You know NBC’s ratings are bad when…

An affiliate decides to air a 21-year-old Matlock movie instead of the network’s Thursday night programming.

You know NBC’s ratings are really bad when…

Matlock‘s ratings are not much different than the regular shows.

Last night, Cleveland’s WKYC-TV opted to run a 1992 two-hour Matlock movie at 9 p.m. instead of NBC’s scheduled lineup. The rest of the country saw an Office repeat, a new episode of struggling White House sitcom 1600 Penn and a Law & Order: SVU repeat.

How did this rebellious experiment turn out? The metered-market ratings show Matlock actually outperformed 1600 Penn‘s recent delivery in the Cleveland market, and was about on par with The Office repeat’s national performance. During the 10 p.m. hour, however, the SVU repeat was clearly more popular.

The station’s general manager president and GM Brooke Spectorsky told EW he ran Matlock because star Andy Griffith was controversially left out of the Oscars “In Memorium” segment on Sunday and to catch-up on airing some local ad inventory. “We pre-empt the network once or twice a year to run a local movie,” said Spectorsky, who noted that NBC approved the decision. “It’s nothing beyond that. We had a Matlock movie and after the whole issue with the Academy Awards, we thought it was a good idea. It made for a lot of tweeting today.”

But a station typically doesn’t opt out of network programming without thinking they can air something that can potentially deliver a better or compatible rating. And that a decades-old Matlock actually beat NBC’s new comedy series by the usual affiliate ratings measurement system is still pretty funny. “[Ratings were not] the reason we did it,” Spectorsky said. “The big lesson we learned was don’t pre-empt The Office. We’ve run into a lot of feedback.”

Now if WKYC had aired Murder She Wrote, they might have really blown NBC out of the water.


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