EXCLUSIVE: Scripps Stations make Costly Decision

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Did Scripps Stations make a very costly decision when they tried to reinvent the Wheel?

Last year, EW Scripps, owner of 19 TV stations made the bold (some say foolish) decision not to renew "Wheel of Fortune" and "Jeopardy" in favor of programming it owns and controls, and could possibly syndicate.

The move saved millions of dollars in license fees, but has been disastrous for the ratings of its local news departments, which depended on "Wheel" and "Jeopardy" for lead ins and lead outs. Now we've learned the experiment might be coming to an abrupt end.

In the palce of Wheel and Jepordy, Scripps launched two shows, a game show called "Let's Ask America," and "The List," a daily clip show much like "The Soup."

Sources tell FTVLIve that "Let's Ask America" wrapped production months ago but there has been no word about a renewal. As for "The List,"  sources say the show's talent (including former WFLD Chicago anchor Jan Jeffcoat, among others) is not signed beyond next May. Sources also tell FTVLive that in addition, vacant positions on the show have gone unfilled. Insiders think the show seems poised to be shut down.

Sources say Scripps executives have been quietly meeting with studio and syndication executives about purchasing replacement shows for "Let's Ask America" and "The List." But whatever is out there is more likely to be an off network sitcom rerun and nothing close to ratings powerhouses such as "Wheel" and "Jeopardy" which Scripps gave up.

Industry insiders say it could take Scripps years to recover the lost ratings from the two powerhouse shows.

Stay tuned...