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WKYC viewers got a very unpleasant surprise on Thursday night … in the form of “Matlock.”

NBC’s Cleveland affiliate decided to pre-empt the network’s Thursday night lineup with a re-run of a “Matlock” TV movie from 1992 called, “The Legacy.”

With NBC falling to fifth place — behind Univision — recently in February sweeps, and both its new shows and once-strong Thursday night lineup struggling to generate consistent ratings, WKYC-TV decided that a 21-year-old “Matlock” feature might generate higher ratings than re-runs of “The Office” and “Law & Order: SVU” and a new episode of “1600 Penn,” which the affiliate bumped to Saturday night beginning at 1 a.m. According to their website, they plan to employ the same scheduling strategy next week.

Commenters on the WKYC-TV website expressed outrage and bewilderment at the move. “Because what I’d love is to sit down to a nice tv movie from 1992, as I’m sure would most of your regular Thursday night viewers. What are you guys thinking?” Another expressed a similar frustration: “Have you guys gone insane? Matlock is the best substitution you could come up with? Someone should be fired. Total incompetence.”

Other viewers vented on Twitter. “Um I tried to tune into the Office on @wkyc and I get Matlock?! Love the theme song but what the hell?” Michael Wendt tweeted.

Another commenter, Matt Karnack, reported that he emailed WKYC-TV for an explanation and was told the ratings of “1600 Penn” and “The Office were so bad that they were airing the “Matlock” re-runs “to get ratings points back for our advertisers.”

To see if the programming change worked, click here:

Article and Picture Courtesy of The Huffington Post

TELEVISION: Cleveland’s WKYC-TV3 Preempts NBC Programming for “Matlock!”  was originally published on