NBC’s experiment in repurposed local news is about to expand.
Sources tell The Observer that following the Olympics, WNBC-4, NBC’s flagship station in New York, will begin airing a Gotham-themed version of its experimental repurposed news show, Daily Connection. The show will air weekdays at noon.
NBC initially soft-launched Daily Connection at WRC-4, the network’s station in Washington, D.C., back in September of 2009.
As we reported at the time, Daily Connection is arguably the first of its kind: an easily replicable, network-produced local news show that relies almost entirely on “found” material. Every day, a team of producers at 30 Rockefeller Plaza (led by producer Rich Latour) sift through the tide of stories that have aired or are about to air on other NBC Universal channels, ranging from MSNBC to Bravo to the Weather Channel to CNBC, and scoop up a handful of promising gems. Those stories are then edited into a package and sent to the local station.
From there, producers at the local station sprinkle in some regional news, assign a member of its existing newsroom staff to anchor the show and-voilà!-an hour of daytime programming that is virtually free for the network and the station.
Recently, The New York Times reported that NBC stations have extended their deal to broadcast The Ellen DeGeneres Show for another four years. How will NBC’s 10 owned stations account for the hefty costs of the syndicated show at a time of sinking revenues?
Expect to see more versions of Daily Connection popping up at NBC stations around the country. After all, expanding the show beyond New York and D.C. could eventually save NBC millions in syndication fees. Earlier this month, according to The Los Angeles Times, KNBC-4 in Los Angeles canceled its 11 a.m. newscast. Industry sources expect that the station could be a good candidate for a Daily Connection expansion in the coming months.
In D.C., Daily Connection replaced Dr. Phil. Currently, the noon to 1 p.m. time slot at WNBC-4 is occupied by a half hour of Extra followed by Access Hollywood. It is unclear whether Daily Connection will simply replace those shows, or if there will be other changes to NBC’s daytime lineup in New York.
A spokesperson for NBC declined to comment.