Channel 11 (WBAL) will scrap its 5 p.m. news hour and go head-to-head with Eyewitness News on Channel 13 (WJZ) at 6 o'clock in September.
WBAL's hour of local news will be followed by CBS' evening newscast at 7 p.m. The move seems to have been made primarily to get some high-priced, and potentially very popular, syndicated entertainment shows into the 5 to 6 o'clock hour.
"The Golden Girls" will run at 5 p.m. with "Who's the Boss," currently shown at 11:30, running at 5:30, though it will also be seen at 11:30 until WBAL gets the rights to Arsenio Hall's talk show next January.
The clear winner in all this is Channel 2 (WMAR), which will have the only local newscast between 5 and 6 p.m., the only network news at 6:30 and the only entertainment programming -- "Wheel of Fortune" -- at 7 p.m.
It's been more than five years since any station has directly taken on Channel 13's early evening news. For most of this past decade, the move has been away from that dominant newscast to earlier in the afternoon in search of news viewers not loyal to WJZ.
WBAL is also changing its lineup earlier in the day with Maury Povich's new talk show going in at 4 p.m. and another new talk hour hosted by comedian Jenny Jones scheduled for 10 a.m.