If the Casey Anthony trial were a motion picture, the action over the past two days would earn an R rating.
Unlike Wednesday, there were no F-bombs spoken on Thursday — but the bird was the word. A local restaurant server flipped a bird at prosecutor Jeff Ashton. If you weren’t looking, you probably would have missed it — but Central Florida News 13 did not. According to the Orlando Sentinel, News 13 brought the “finger” incident to the court’s attention — and that’s what started a chain of events that led to the 28-year-old man being found in contempt of court and sentenced to six days in the county jail. Interesting that at least in its online story, News 13 doesn’t mention its involvement in the incident.
During court on Wednesday, the F-word went out over the Orlando TV airwaves twice — once when Casey Anthony’s father, George, was on the stand being questioned by the defense. Later, defense attorney Jose Baez dropped another F-bomb — this time while quoting a deposition given by George Anthony. While the courts have apparently ruled that the Federal Communications Commission can no longer fine stations for so-called “fleeting explatives,” Orlando’s TV news channels took note. WESH 2 posted a on-screen warning: “May Contain Offensive Language.” WOFL-Fox 35 appeared to start using a delay with its coverage.
Interesting tidbit about Orlando TV ratings for the Casey Anthony trial, courtesy of TVNewser.com…
“Bob Jordan, news director of ABC affiliate WFTV, tells TVNewser more people watched the trial on his station as well as on Fox O&O WOFL and cable station CFN13 combined, than watched the Miami Heat – Dallas Mavericks NBA playoff game in prime time [Thursday] night.” Full report here.
“Fox-owned WOFL-Channel 35 and ABC affiliate WFTV-Channel 9 were in a tight race Thursday morning with their wall-to-wall coverage. … WOFL drew 91,800 viewers to WFTV’s 91,700. Central Florida News 13, which is available to customers of Bright House Networks, drew 66,800 viewers. …
“From 1:30 to 5 p.m. Thursday, WFTV rose to the top with its trial coverage. WFTV averaged 116,500 viewers. WOFL was second with 93,900. News 13 drew 84,800. CBS affiliate WKMG-Channel 6 decided to go wall to wall Thursday afternoon and drew 27,500 viewers. “In Session,” which ends it coverage at 3 p.m., had 16,400 viewers. And HLN drew 11,500.” Full report here.
I received this communication Tuesday afternoon: “CFN13 just laid off news director Sean McNamara. The general manager, Robin Smythe, announced the news in an e-mail sent [around 5:30 p.m. Tuesday], but did not give a reason.”
NewsBlues.com, meanwhile, reports “Elliott Wiser, the Bright House VP who oversees CFN13 and sister-station Bay News 9 in Tampa (Market #14), has scheduled an attendance-mandatory all-hands-on-deck staff meeting in both newsrooms today. Rumors of news-sharing swirl. The two news operations, reaching an estimated 3.3 million households, are separated by just 85 miles of crowded interstate, and their coverage areas are bumping shoulders. Both news operations have become powerful forces in their respective markets, particularly in the morning and when severe weather threatens.”
The roster includes CBS News’ Byron Pitts (1986-88 at WESH), CNN’s Jessica Yellin (1998-2000 at News 13), ABC News’ Deborah Roberts (1997-90 at WFTV), CBS News’ Wyatt Andrews (1977-79 at WFTV) and Fox News’ Trace Gallagher (1993-96 at WCPX).
A couple of others I thought of who went on to bigger and better things after their Orlando TV news days: Milissa Rehberger and Bill Karins, both formerly of WOFL and now with MSNBC; Shepard Smith, formerly of WCPX and now with Fox News; Lisa Colagrossi, formerly of WKMG now with WABC; Rob Stafford, formerly of WFTV and Dateline NBC, now anchor at WMAQ Chicago; Ryan Baker, formerly of WCPX-WKMG, now sports anchor at WBBM Chicago; Stewart Scott, formerly of WESH now at ESPN; Anne Craig, formerly of WOFL now at WNYW in New York; and James Ford, formerly of WFTV now at WPIX in New York.
If you know of others, add them as a comment on this post.
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.
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.