I'm reading from several sources that some networks are considering reducing the number of hours of prime time they provide to their affiliates. This is interesting in a number of ways.
Since I work in the opposite side of the building from sales, I don't know which would be more lucrative for stations, a few prime time ads or more ads within a syndicated show. But if a few hundred stations suddenly find themselves with a few more hours a week to fill, syndicated programming gets a boost.
I would hope stations would take a few chances by giving programming that hasn't aired in their market a spin, and depending on the number of stations in a market, they might have to. The equilibrium of availible shows/availible slots would be in flux for while if this did come to pass.
More availible syndicated hours would also mean opportunities for new programming to start up and gain a foothold in the marketplace, especially if it thematically fits in the prime time hours. This is a hard time to be spinning up shows financially, but if prime time slots suddenly come open, there will be a bit of a land rush for those slots.