Just a few short weeks ago, Orlando TV viewers were given the chance to view one of the newest “diginets” — Memorable Entertainment Television, or Me-TV for short.
Me-TV, which replaced WeatherPlus on WESH’s 2.2 digital subchannel, offers classic sitcoms and dramas from the 1950s, ’60s, ’70s and ’80s. I had seen Me-TV previously in Chicago and liked the shows, and I am finding myself watching it a lot during prime time now.
Since indulging me wasn’t the reason, why did WESH drop WeatherPlus for Me-TV? It has to do with revenue. TV stations across the nation are looking for ways to cash in with more programming on their digital channels — and for many the solution is to air programming from new start-up digital networks, or digitnets.
The folks at WFTV are missing Oprah right now. In the just completed July ratings, WESH 2 News finished ahead of Channel 9’s Eyewitness News at 5 p.m. in the 25-54 demo.
For years, WFTV’s 5 o’clock news benefited from following the Oprah Winfrey Show. But Oprah’s show is over — and so is the Casey Anthony trial — creating a new early news race for viewers. According to the Orlando Sentinel, WESH averaged 27,600 viewers at 5 p.m. to WFTV’s 27,200 in the 25-54 demographic. WOFL’s Fox 35 News averaged 15,300 while WKMG’s Local 6 News had 8,200.
WESH also finished No. 1 in the demo at 11 p.m. Still, when using total viewers, WFTV won all newscasts.
But anytime WFTV doesn’t win a news time period, it is news. And if you think not finishing No. 1 in the demo isn’t important to Channel 9, think again. Did you see the last-minute push WFTV rolled out — using a cash stunt to get viewers to watch the last 5 minutes of Oprah (which, leads into Eyewitness News)? If WESH remains strong at 5 p.m., look for more cash giveaways from Central Florida’s News Leader.
Yes, Virginia — there really is life after Orlando TV, and here are some examples to prove it.
Former Fox 35 morning anchor Heidi Hatch, who left the station in June, has landed at Salt Lake City’s KUTV. She’ll be anchoring a new 4 p.m. newscast at the CBS affiliate — with “Utah’s only all-female anchor team,” the station says. “KUTV is proud to welcome Heidi Hatch back to Utah to co-anchor the show. Heidi is a Utah native who is returning home from Orlando where she was a morning anchor for 5 years.” Hatch is definitely missed by her former Good Day viewers, who keep posting comments about her departure.
Another former morning host has switched mediums. WKMG morning anchor Laura Diaz has officially joined the morning crew at WXXL-106.7 FM. She popped up on the radio show just after she left Channel 6. Now, she’s known on radio as Lady Laura.
Former WESH weekend anchor Craig Lucie has moved up to Cox flagship WSB-ABC 2, while WFTV reporter Mark Boyle has headed to Texas to Post-Newsweek’s KPRC-NBC 2 in Houston.
Meanwhile, former WKMG sports anchor Todd Romero (below) has also found employment out west. He’s been spotted doing sports report in Denver at the Tribune/Local TV LLC duopoly of KWGN-CW 2 and KDVR-Fox 31.
WOFL is now quite the ratings force locally, thanks in large part to Fox. But back in 1979, WOFL was just trying to survive. Orlando’s original “independent” station, WSWB-Channel 35, signed on in 1974 but ran into money troubles and went dark just three years later. A new ownership group returned Channel 35 to the air in 1979 — hoping for a little more success. Here’s an ad from November of that year, showing what Channel 35 had to offer Orlando viewers in prime time. And since it was still the swinging 1970s, check out the “groovy” slogan for the station too.
We’re climbing into the Wayback Machine again today, taking a look at an old newspaper ad from WESH-Channel 2. Back in the late 1960s, NBC was riding high with programs like Laugh-In, Bonanza and Julia. In Orlando, WESH 2 News was then known as Newscope. Here’s an ad from November 1969 showing some of the shows on Florida’s Channel 2.