Catching up on Orlando TV news after being busy Christmas shopping …
Former WESH anchor Wendy Chioji has reunited with former Channel 2 colleagues Marc Middleton and Bill Shafer on their Growing Bolder television venture. She’s joining the show for its second season on public television. She was at the show’s Maitland headquarters recently to tape segments for season 2. Click here to see a video of the shoot. And the Orlando Sentinel has more on Chioji’s new role with Growing Bolder. …
WESH News Director Bob Longo responded to Comedy Central’s poking of the station for its incorrect report about “red and green” being banned at Heathrow Elementary for the holidays. Sentinel TV Guy Hal Boedeker says Longo sent him the following email: “We pride ourselves on providing our viewers with accurate information. It’s one of our core tenets. And while we always strive to be accurate, in this case we made a mistake We regret it. We spoke to the school superintendent after the story aired and asked what we could do to make it right. We corrected our mistake immediately on TV and posted the school’s entire statement on line, which was two weeks ago. They are satisfied.” …
WKMG reacts to that news, reported here via NewsBlues.com, that it was dropping weekend sports anchor Todd Romero and bringing in Jamie Seh from Albany, N.Y., as his replacement. “It’s a personnel matter. He has left the station following the conclusion of his contract,” WKMG General Manager Skip Valet told Boedeker. Said Romero, “My contract was ending Dec. 31. I just think they didn’t want me to say goodbye on the air.” …
Finally, another WKMG alumnus, Donald Forbes, has joined Bright House Networks as its senior director of corporate communications. Congrats.
A week ago today, Orlando Sentinel TV Guy Hal Boedeker reported on WKMG’s hiring of Elizabeth Hart to become its full-time weekend evening meteorologist.
The following night, she was hosting the multi-state, $25 million Powerball drawing — which coincidentally also airs on WKMG.
Hart has been among a handful of Orlando folks who host the twice weekly drawings from a studio at the Universal Orlando Resort. No word on if she’ll continue her lottery duties now that she’s working full time for WKMG.
Hart, who has been working part-time for Local 6 for three years, will also report for the station’s 6 p.m. and new 7 p.m. newscasts three days a week.
Taking Hart’s role as the weekend morning meteorologist is Julie Broughton, who was previously with Central Florida News 13.
Meanwhile, another newcomer to WKMG will be Jamie Seh. NewsBlues.com reported that Seh, from WTEN-ABC 10 in Albany, N.Y., will join Local 6 as its new weekend sports anchor and reporter. Her last day in Albany is scheduled for Dec. 17.
While RogerSimmons.com was offline with technical difficulties last week, WKMG-Local 6 announced its new 7 p.m. newscast. And I have a couple of observations about that.
A 1981 newspaper ad for NewsCenter 2, with Mary Ollie Newman and John Andreucci, touting its 7 p.m. newscast.
First, the news: Channel 6 will ditch it’s hourlong news from 6-7 p.m. starting Jan. 3. Instead, it will offer a half hour at 6 p.m., followed by the CBS Evening News with Katie Couric at 6:30, then another half hour of news at 7 p.m. “A newscast can be successful at 7 p.m.,” Local 6 GM Skip Valet told Sentinel TV Guy Hal Boedeker. “We’ve seen a lot of growth in the 6 p.m. newscast in the last two months.”
Well, not so fast. Local 6 has been dwelling in the ratings cellar for awhile. Its idea of doing local news at 6:30 p.m. while the others did national news (or aired TMZ), was a novel idea — until WFTV started up its own 6:30 p.m. local newscast on sister station WRDQ-Channel 27 and started beating WKMG. So, to me, Local 6 is looking to move to another time period where it can try to have the local news audience to itself.
But if Orlando TV history is any guide, this move is doomed. Back in 1981, WESH was the only station in town doing 60 minutes of news in the evening — airing NewsCenter 2 from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. It had been doing so for years. But in a move that still seems baffling, it decided to change and do a half hour at 6 p.m. and another half at 7 p.m., sandwiching NBC Nightly News. (Sound familiar?) ”The Right News at the Right Time,” was how Channel 2 marketed the move. Wrong! WFTV was all too eager to expand into the 5:30 timeslot left vacant by WESH. WFTV’s 5:30 news has continued ever since, while Channel 2′s little-watched “NewsCenter at 7″ was quickly forgotten.
The second 7 p.m. newscast in Orlando was even more short-lived than WESH’s. It was a WFTV-produced newscast on WRDQ-Channel 27 during the early days of the Iraq War in 2003. The war went on for years but the newscast lasted for just days.
Have times changed enough that Orlando viewers want local news at 7 p.m.? Personally, I doubt it.
Continuing our Blast from the Past series of newspaper ads for Orlando TV stations, today we roll back the clock to 1968.
Here’s an advertisement that appeared for CBS’ Sunday night lineup on WDBO-Channel 6. “Channel 6 has the look of a winner,” was the Orlando station’s slogan — and it was likely true that the station was the top-rated one in the Orlando market that year.
What was happening that Sunday night?
According to the advertisement’s text, Lassie tries to elude a timber wolf in Alaska, while Mark trains a dog on Gentle Ben.
Here’s the description from Ed Sullivan: “Ed’s guests: Tom Jones, singer, Wayne & Shuster, comedy team, and Jimi Hendrix, recording star, with Ray Bloch’s Orchestra.”
The Smothers Brothers were welcoming Kate Smith and Jefferson Airplane, and on Mission: Impossible, Phelps and Cinnamon try to stop a dangerous adversary’s plans.
And the ad also previews Monday morning’s Merv Griffin show. The scheduled guests were Alejandro Rey, Bill Dana, Xavier Cugart & Charo, Richard Pryor, with Arthur Treacher.
Between lots of travel for business (and some for pleasure), I’m playing catchup with the latest Orlando TV news…
Interesting — and unconfirmed — rumor passed on by a tipster: Bright House may be getting ready to add its Tampa Bay news channel, Bay News 9, to its Orlando channel lineup that already includes Central Florida News 13. Stay tuned. …
Former WKMG traffic reporter Secily Wilson returned to local television screens with a splash. She and her family were on the Orlando-based Family Feud game show. She had a bit of a slip in answering a question in the Fast Money segement — and it made her a YouTube star (with more than 940,000 views so far). Sentinel TV Guy Hal Boedeker catches up with Wilson to see what she’s been doing and how she hopes to return to television beyond game shows. …
Have you noticed the changes at WOFL-Fox 35 during the November sweep? The station has rebranded its 4:30 a.m. to 10 a.m news block “Good Day,” added a news ticker to its newscasts and has seemed to be much more aggressive. Will it make a difference in the ratings? …
Speaking of Fox 35, anchor Cale Ramaker tweeted this update about a former co-anchor: ”Had a very nice lunch with my former co-anchor Corrina Sullivan, today. Very happy with her decision to be a full-time Mom.” …
GM Jim Carter is verrrrry happy with the performance of his Orlando duopoly, WESH 2 and especially WKCF-CW18. “Absolutely. They have got it going. Our prime-time ratings [on WKCF] this year in October were up 21 percent from last year,” he told the Sentinel. Read the full Q&A with Carter here.
Five Orlando news outlets grabbed 30 nominations in the 34th annual Suncoast Emmy Awards competition.
Market ratings leader WFTV-Channel 9 pulled in the most nominations among the Orlando stations with 11. It was followed by Fox Sports Florida/Sun Sports followed with 10, WKMG-Local 6 with five, Central Florida News 14 with three and WOFL-Fox 35 with one.
Winners will be announced on Dec. 4 at the Westin Beach Resort in Fort Lauderdale. The Suncoast Chapter competition includes all the TV markets in Florida; the Alexandria, Baton Rouge, Lafayette, Lake Charles and New Orleans markets in Louisiana; the Mobile, Ala., market; the Thomasville, Ga., market; and Puerto Rico.
For the full list of nominees, click here.