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Fox’s new ‘Pulse’ aiming for distinctive approach

Jul 8, 2002  •  Post A Comment

“It’s going to look like no other newsmagazine,” promised Shepard Smith, host of “The Pulse,” the one-hour Fox News program that begins its summer run on Fox Broadcasting at 9 p.m. Thursday. “It’s going to jump right off your television.”
Think Starship Enterprise. Add smoke machines, strobe lights and a stadium-style anthem. “Sandwiched in that Fox-y setting is some really good journalism,” said Mr. Smith, delivering the preview in his signature rat-a-tat drawl. “I think you can have it both ways.”
The first week’s lineup includes an extended look by Geraldo Rivera at the smuggling of people. Each week’s lineup will feature contributions from Fox News’ biggest star, Bill O’Reilly. In addition to debating a guest-a segment Mr. Smith wryly described as “O’Reilly beating up on someone”-the pugnacious Mr. O’Reilly will kick in a commentary titled “Guess Who’s Bugging Me Now?”
The magazine, executive produced by Bill Shine, will be filled out with reports from Laurie Dhue, Catherine Herridge and Linda Vester.
Other standing features will include an issues-oriented poll (“The Pulse of America”) and a reel of the week’s “most outrageous video clips” (“Pulse-8”).
Mr. Smith-who also anchors Fox News Channel’s increasingly popular “Fox Report With Shepard Smith”-suggests that instead of standard celebrity profiles, “Pulse” viewers can expect to see “day-in-the-life”-style and backstage pieces.
In the summer of 1998, Fox News launched “Fox Files,” which lasted less than two years in the Fox Broadcasting lineup. “The Pulse” starts with a guarantee of nine weeks, but Mr. Smith thinks positive. “We haven’t come to this process with a 30-year-old playbook,” he said.
His long-term dream is a 35-minute 11 p.m. newscast produced for Fox stations. “Done our way,” he said, “fast and live and hip and happening.”