WISN Homegrown NewsMag Scores Points for Local Programming

Sep 27, 2004  •  Post A Comment

Hearst-Argyle-owned ABC affiliate WISN-TV in Milwaukee believes it’s making a strong case for the return of locally produced programming to TV stations. The quarterly installment of its newsmagazine “On Assignment” won the 9 p.m. time slot on Tuesday, Sept. 14, with a Nielsen Media Research 10.5/16, just ahead of Journal Broadcast Group-owned WTMJ-TV’s “Law & Order: SVU” with a 10.4/16. WISN also beat the local Fox-owned station WITI-TV with a 7.5/11 for its newscast and “Amazing Race 5” on Weigel Broadcasting-owned CBS station WDJT-TV with a 5.4/8.

The local special was also the highest-rated 9 p.m. program among all ABC metered markets that night and became WISN’s highest-rated local news special.

“This is not some little number a station posted,” said WISN General Manager Frank Biancuzzo. “This is a double-digit [performance]. It reminds networks of the powerful role stations play in bringing viewers to the table, when we can put a special on and be the No. 1 ABC affiliate.”

Mr. Biancuzzo hopes other stations will be inspired by the performance to develop more local content beyond their newscasts. “I think there is no question that the stations [need] to get back into the local programming business and aside from local news, and we continue to prove [that] whether it’s our newsmagazine or holiday special.” He added, “I think you will see more stations putting a focus on this as a way to get sampling. I believe this is a trend.”

Hearst-Argyle president and CEO David Barrett has been a vocal proponent of getting the final hour of prime time back from the networks and to the stations.

The September edition of “On Assignment” featured four primary segments: an investigative report on a small-town Wisconsin murder that made national headlines; a profile of two local Purple Heart veterans, one from Vietnam and one from Iraq, who are helping each other cope; an interview with Green Bay Packers Quarterback Brett Favre; and an interview with Jane Pauley.

Fox Station KRIV’s ‘Predator Check’ Catches Fugitives

Fox-owned KRIV-TV in Houston said its recently introduced Predator Check franchise helped nab a suspect wanted for more than 20 years. The station said the arrest of the 52-year-old Joseph Buzz is the eighth arrest in seven months since the station launched “Predator Check,” a weekly segment in which it provides information on local fugitives. The police received a tip on the suspect’s whereabouts after the information about him aired on KRIV, and the police were able to catch him. The station is achieving a 60 percent to 70 percent success rate on old cases. “Predator Check” airs Sundays at 9 p.m. and Mondays at 7 a.m.

KTVU Hires McVay

Local news powerhouse Cox-owned KTVU-TV in San Francisco filled its vacant general manager post with Tim McVay. He started last week as the new VP and general manager for the station, replacing Jeff Block, who was promoted to a corporate position earlier in the summer. Mr. McVay has had a long career with Cox, having been with the group for 25 years. He joined KTVU from Cox’s ABC affiliate WSB-TV in Atlanta, where he’d worked as the general sales manager since 1996.

WBFS Adds More News

Viacom-owned UPN station WBFS-TV in Miami debuted its new morning news program last week. The show airs from 7-9 a.m. weekdays. Danielle Knox and Susan Barnett anchor with Angela Rae contributing entertainment and lifestyle stories. The addition is the latest move in WBFS’ efforts to bolster its news lineup. The station added a 10 p.m. newscast in 2001 and expanded it to a full hour earlier this year, as part of that effort.

WBBM Introduced Revamped Weekly Talk Show

Chicago’s Viacom-owned CBS station WBBM-TV premiered its weekly talk show “Eye on Chicago with Antonio Mora” on Sept. 19 with a new set, graphics and theme music. The show spotlights newsmakers in Chicago.

WPIX Adds Oldtime Sitcoms on Saturday

New York’s Tribune-owned WB affiliate WPIX-TV plans to add four ’70s sitcoms to its prime-time lineup on Saturday nights starting Oct. 2. The “Pix at Night” block includes “Welcome Back, Kotter,” “The Jeffersons,” “The Odd Couple” and “Taxi.” All four shows are set in New York.

On the Move: Viacom-owned CBS station WCBS-TV in New York named Chris Scaglione executive producer for sports. He started immediately. He previously served as the 11 p.m. weekday sports producer at NBC-owned WNBC-TV in New York …WBBM named Roseanne Tellez morning and midday news anchor. She joins from Chicago’s Tribune-owned WB affiliate WGN-TV. She will co-anchor with Randy Salerno.