The news of Ellen Degeneres' longtime daytime TV show ending its run in 2022 wasn't a big surprise to anyone in the industry. Still, it certainly has programming executives and local TV affiliates working hard to adjust programming. And - 2022 isn't that far off in their world.
There hasn't been a hole this big in daytime TVland since Oprah retired. And while "Ellen" may go out with less fanfare, her ratings are still strong. It will be interesting to see if she draws more eyeballs in her final season. No doubt you'll start seeing strong cross promotion to the show replacing "Ellen" in her final months.
What will happen to her time slot? It will very much depend on the TV market and syndicated deals already in place - but for stations that have "Kelly" or "Tamron" on their schedule along with "Ellen" I could see one of those shows sliding into her time period. Even on non-"Ellen" stations I imagine those shows will move into her time period when they don't have to compete any longer.
And no doubt there will be a strong effort to create a new program to fill the void with an A-list celeb ready to take a turn at hosting. It will be an exciting time to watch what emerges!
With every programming shift there are careful considerations at play on the local level. "Ellen" was a strong ratings driver in many but not all markets. And, as an early evening news lead-in she didn't deliver a consistent audience. The next show to take her time slot will need to prove it can not only deliver eyeballs - but the right eyeballs. My bet is on "Tamron" replacing her in many markets - she's a journalist at heart and she will be going into her fourth season after finding her groove the first few.
"Kelly" is a delight to watch and probably the closest alternative to "Ellen" - but will she deliver a news audience? With viewership more fragmented than ever she'll have to deliver.
When all these programming changes take place it will be really important for the syndicated shows to support their local affiliates in promoting the new time period and move as much of their existing audience over.
If you read my blog post on ACR data you will know my strong feelings on CTV advertising and how useful it can be in reaching daytime TV viewers. In addition, reach mediums like OOH (Billboards & Posters) and radio will be an important driver. Lastly, cable is a strong but always expensive play. If you use a narrow day-part to serve ads to W25-49 in the hours surrounding the local "Ellen" time period you will be reaching an audience that is a daytime TV viewer. Bingo!
All of this should be on top of what local stations are doing on their own air to move their audiences. Syndicators should be providing as much opportunities for local markets to cross promote. On-set interviews, satellite tours, radio tours, custom promos, custom social spots are just some of the things syndicators should be doing to assist. Is it a heavy lift on their team and talent? Yes. But it pays off! Standard promos can only do part of the work.
Nothing happens in a vacuum and paid media and owned media options have to be aligned in a strong plan. If you are looking for a strategist and buyer to help your show or local station in this upcoming transition - I'm your girl. I've successfully transitioned a lot of shows to new time periods and launched brand new shows.