WGRZ moving ‘Ellen’ in favor of local show
WGRZ-TV (Channel 2) is preparing to go head-to-head with WIVB-TV (Channel 4) in the 4 p.m. news competition.
That bit of media news first came to light Monday when Channel 2 started running a crawl during the 4 p.m. program “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” that featured the charming Buffalo singing Police Officers Michael Norwood Jr. and Mo Badger.
The crawl noted that starting next Wednesday, “Ellen” will be moving to 3 p.m. weekdays and the former 3 p.m. occupant, “Dr. Phil,” will move to 2 p.m. in place of “Dateline” reruns.
A check of Channel 2’s schedule on its website showed that a program called “Most Buffalo” will begin airing at 4 p.m. next Wednesday.
Channel 2 General Manager Jim Toellner declined to comment. According to sources, the program may be a showcase for Kate Welshofer, who has had a variety of roles at Channel 2 since joining the station a little over a year ago.
A St. Bonaventure University graduate, she came to Channel 2 after 10 years at a cable news channel in Rochester and having her own YouTube channel to showcase her humor.
Since joining Channel 2, Welshofer has been a substitute anchor and has done comic feature material. She is expected to be joined in “Most Buffalo” by weathercaster Maria Genero.
The program, which may debut online this week before airing on Channel 2, is expected to be more fun than the typical newscast, sources said.
The move away from “Ellen” does come with some risks. The talk show has provided Channel 2 with a strong lead-in for its 5 p.m. news.
However, Channel 4’s news at 4 p.m. anchored by Christy Kern is doing very well as that station’s lead-in. During the recent February sweeps, Channel 4 won the time slot in households, 4.9 to 4.3.
However, “Ellen” was a big winner in the key 18 to 49 and 25 to 54 demographics. But “Ellen” often goes into repeats, which tend to have lower ratings. And hourlong local productions have much more commercial time for stations to sell than they are allowed to sell during syndicated programs.