Steve Doerr, general manager for WLNE - the local ABC affiliate, confirms that the station will no longer run Dr. Phil, Entertainment Tonight or Inside Edition after tonight.
Doerr said a decline in advertising revenue meant that his station could no longer afford to pay for the shows. Industry sources say it looks like the local Fox affiliate, WNAC, will be picking up Dr. Phil starting next week.
Doerr said WLNE will temporarily replace Dr. Phil, in the 5 p.m. weekday slot, with a pair of court shows - Cristina's Court and Family Court. The station will run local news in the 7 p.m. slot, replacing Entertainment Tonight, and Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? in the 7:30 slot formerly held by Inside Edition.
But with summer rolling around, Doerr said, the station will have a chance to do some experimentation with its prime time line-up.
Local television stations have been hard-hit by a brutal downturn in advertising. A recent report from BIA Financial Network, Inc., a Virginia-based market research firm, found that television stations in the Providence-New Bedford market saw ad revenue drop 11.8% last year - nearly double the national average.
WJAR, the local NBC affiliate, and WLNE have recently laid off staff. And LIN TV, owner of WPRI, the local CBS affiliate, has warned that layoffs could be coming soon.
WLNE has traditionally run third in ratings behind WJAR and WPRI.