Local Listings

Apr 2, 2001  •  Post A Comment

Changes for KPRC’s 10 p.m. newscast

In mid-April, NBC affiliate KPRC-TV, Houston, will have the only three-person anchor team in its market for the 10 p.m. news. Early-evening news anchor Dominique Sachse, who will continue to anchor the 4 p.m. and 5 p.m. news, will join 10 p.m. anchors Bill Balleza and Linda Lorelle on the set each night. The 10 p.m. newscast will also begin to feature at least one in-depth story each night in addition to news on the day’s events. “[KPRC] may be the only station in the country with three anchors,” KPRC General Manager Steve Wasserman said. “I’m not sure it’s been done since KYW-TV [Philadelphia] did it in the 1970s.”

“In enhancing our late-news format and putting more firepower into the content, we decided to put more firepower into our anchor team,” Mr. Wasserman said. “The roles may change from night to night in terms of what they’re reporting on, but they will be three equal anchors.”

Mr. Wasserman said the station wants to beef up the newscast with in-depth stories because the station has not been consistent outside of sweeps books. KPRC’s investigative and consumer units will both contribute in-depth pieces. “This is a long-term strategy that we’ve been planning, and we decided to put in place in time for May sweeps, but it is not a sweeps strategy,” Mr. Wasserman said.

KVBC disputes news director’s exit

NBC affiliate KVBC-TV, Las Vegas, took issue with reports that News Director Mike George left to save the company money, sparing the station laying off a dozen staffers. KVBC General Manager Gene Greenberg said, “Mike’s leaving was mutually agreed upon but had no connection to any layoffs.”

Mr. George was at KVBC for three years. Assistant News Director Jamie Ioos will be interim news director.

Around the country, there has been some unusual turnover recently with other news directors, such as Joe Coscia at CBS-owned KDKA-TV, Pittsburgh. He started that job in October, just after the Radio-Television News Directors Association convention. According to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, he left two weeks ago after “creative differences” with KDKA General Manager Gary Cozen.

Fox-owned KTVI-TV, St. Louis, lost News Director Brad Remington to ABC affiliate KATU-TV, Portland, Ore., for just two weeks before he changed his mind and went back to KTVI. “We’re delighted he’s back,” KTVI General Manager Spencer Koch said.

WBZ leads with interactive segments

CBS-owned WBZ-TV, Boston, recently created a new twice-weekly interactive segment for its 5 p.m. newscast in which health reporter Dr. Mallika Marshall answers viewers’ questions sent via phone or e-mail. Ms. Marshall, daughter of ABC News veteran Carole Simpson, is a physician and on Tuesdays works at a 24-hour walk-in clinic. She is on the air five days a week and appears twice on each 5 p.m. newscast, once in each half-hour.

“We call it our own version of bedside manner,” said WBZ News Director Peter Brown. Mr. Brown heard about Dr. Marshall through a friend who met her at a dinner party last year. She had no television experience, but she practiced for her WBZ audition with her mother as coach and got the gig.

KTTV staffers die in Aspen plane crash

Two newsroom employees at Fox-owned KTTV, Los Angeles, were killed in the crash of a charter plane in Aspen last Thursday night. Mir Tukhi was an assignment editor and Marissa Witham was a production assistant/desk researcher. They were not there on assignment. “Our deepest sympathy goes out to the families of Mir and Marissa,” KTTV said in a statement. “We share in their loss, and our thoughts and prayers are with their relatives and loved ones.”

KSEE links with Fresno Bee Web site

Starting Monday, Granite-owned NBC affiliate KSEE-TV, Fresno, Calif., will join CentralValley.com, which is owned by the Fresno Bee newspaper, to enhance the content and services of that Internet portal.

Karissa S. Wang can be reached by phone at 323-370-2430, via e-mail at kwang@crain.com or by fax at 323-653-4425.