Tag Archives: Josh Benson

It’s a small world after all: Josh Benson leaves WFTV to head to WFOR in Miami

Josn Benson

Josh Benson, the one-time heir apparent to Bob Opsahl who became the odd-man out when WFTV decided to revamp its anchor lineup, is heading to Miami.

According to the South Florida Sun Sentinel, Benson will be the new morning anchor at CBS O&O WFOR. He begins Aug. 27.

It’s sort of an anchor exchange between WFTV and WFOR.

When WFTV took Benson off its 10 p.m. newscast on sister station WRDQ-27, his replacement was Jorge Estevez — who came back to Orlando from WFOR. Estevez left WFTV in 2006 to become morning anchor at WFOR. Small world, right?

Since leaving WFTV anchor desk, Benson has been exploring the world — traveling and blogging about what appears to be a fantastic trip to Europe, including France and Rome.

Another small world example: While visiting Trevi fountain in Rome, Benson and his family ran into Orlando attorney Mark Nejame — who provided commentary for WKMG during the Casey Anthony trial.

WFTV’s 6:30 news on TV 27: More of the same

WFTV Eyewitness News at 6:30 on WRDQIt was a solid if unremarkable debut Monday for WFTV’s new Eyewitness News at 6:30 p.m. on sister station WRDQ-TV 27 — and that’s probably exactly what you want out of your first show.

The big problem for all the stations on Monday — there just wasn’t that much news on Labor Day. At 6, all the stations led with that tried-and-true fallback for Central Florida: It was raining.

But it was weather-related news that the 6:30 show kept repeating. A semi-truck jackknifed on a slick Interstate 4, closing the westbound lanes. Anchors Vanessa Welch and Josh Bronson had five reports on the accident during the 30-minute show. Other than the initial report, the only other “news” about the accident was that fuel was leaking from the truck. Still, worthy of five mentions? Maybe when nothing else is going on.

So, what’s the new 6:30 news good for? Basically, you can skip the 5, 5:30 and 6 p.m. Eyewitness News shows and get everything that’s important in the 6:30 show. Well, everything except sports — showing how that topic continues to diminish in importance for Orlando’s stations. So, if you get home late and don’t care about sports, this is the newscast for you.

I did have to chuckle at the promos for the new newscast which proclaim, “Now there’s local news at 6:30!” I’m sure that comes as a surprise to the folks over at WKMG, who have been producing their hourlong 6 p.m. news for more than a year.

You tell us: Eyewitness News or Local 6 at 6:30?

Labor Day will mark the launch of WFTV’s 6:30 p.m. newscast on sister station WRDQ-TV 27. The new Eyewitness News at 6:30, anchored by Vanessa Welch and Josh Benson, will go head-to-head against WKMG-Local 6’s The 6 o’clock News with Lauren Rowe and Mike Garofalo. So Central Florida … which local newscast at 6:30 p.m. do you think will have the most viewers at the end of the month?

Local 6 has been doing news at 6:30 for more than year. Eyewitness News is Central Florida’s top-rated news, but will viewers who watch at 5, 5:30 or 6 follow the Channel 9 gang over to WRDQ at 6:30?

Summer break over: Catching up on Orlando TV

After a nice summer break away from TV news, it’s time to catch up. And, wow, there has been a lot going on ….

WFTV-Channel 9: Some of the most newsworthy changes have come from an unexpected place: the usually rock-steady Eyewitness News juggernaut. The big shocker: longtime anchor Barbara West is being taken off the 5:30 p.m. news, making way for rising star Vanessa Welch. GM  Shawn Bartelt told Sentinel TV Guy Hal Boedeker the station is making the 5:30 change to provide some flow its new  6:30 p.m. news on WRDQ-TV 27. “I have the utmost respect for Barbara West,” Bartelt said. “This is no reflection on Barbara. I have to get more faces into those 90 minutes” from 5 to 6:30 p.m. West has been at WFTV since 1986 and will continue to anchor at noon and report on the health beat. … Another longtime WFTV anchor is also getting her air time scaled back, too. Daybreak anchor Vanessa Echols will be replaced by newcomer Bianca Castro from 7-9 a.m. on the Eyewitness News This Morning show on WRDQ. “We felt she needed a break,” Bartelt said of Echols. … And even more changes at WFTV: Main sports anchor Phil Burton is being shuffled out the door to make way for Christian Bruey, 26, who does play by play for the Daytona Cubs. Bruey starts in September. Burton will hang around through football season. … Morning meteorologist Matt Makens is departing WFTV to accept a weather position at Denver’s KMGH-ABC 7. … Speaking of Channel 9’s new  6:30 p.m. news, with Welch and newcomer Josh Benson, it will debut on Labor Day. … Finally (whew!), WFTV announced it will replace Oprah at 4 p.m. with Dr. Oz, starting in 2011. So much for theories that WFTV was going to launch a 4 p.m. newscast.

WOFL-Fox 35: After eight years, General Manager Stan Knott announced plans to leave the Fox O&O. While he’s been on board, the station has greatly expanded its news footprint in the mornings, evenings and weekends. No word on a replacement yet. More here.  … Dr. Phil will be joining the Fox 35 family in 2011.

WKMG-Local 6: Well, when we last checked, WKMG was in the process of a major house cleaning. Gone were anchor Jacqueline London, reporter Donald Forbes and morning weather guy Eric Wilson. The changes kept on coming. Reporter Jessica D’Onofrio has left, stepping up to ABC O&O WLS-7 in her hometown of Chicago. The Chicago Sun-Times says she starts Aug. 30 will be covering breaking news in the mornings. So, what about all those openings at WKMG? Julie Broughton, formerly of Central Florida News 13, has been brought in temporarily to help anchor on the weekends. More new faces at the stationShaun Chaiyabhat, from Memphis, is a GA; Quinn Schuler, from Tuscon, Ariz.,  is a GA; and Cortney Hall, from Champaign, Ill. is a morning reporter. … We mentioned earlier, WKMG is going to let Dr. Phil — which replaced its 5 p.m. news — go to WOFL in 2011. Will WKMG get back into the early evening news game? GM SkipValet isn’t saying.

WESH 2 News: Sunrise anchor Jason Guy became a daddy earlier this month. He and his wife welcome daughter Quinn Katherine Guy. … And congrats to Todd Grasley, who had been heading up WESH’s High School Playbook website. He’s off to Panama City for a new weekend sports anchor gig.

Central Florida News 13: Well, I was surprised. Hal Boedeker reported on News 13’s ratings and how they fare against the other stations in town. I didn’t think 13 was much of a player, but the local cable news station regularly beats some of its broadcast competitors in several news time slots. Who knew “Weather on the 1’s” could be so popular? … Anchor Jackie Brockington, missing for three months, returned to the air. Where was she? On medical leave. “Nothing serious — reconstructive foot surgery,” Brockington told Boedeker.

WFTV adding 6:30 p.m. news on WRDQ

WKMG’s THE 6 O’Clock News hour is about to get some competition.

WFTV announced today that it will expand its Eyewitness News by a half hour in September, adding a 6:30 p.m. show on sister station WRDQ-TV 27  — giving Central Floridians two choices for local news at a time that has traditionally been reserved for national news.

But don’t expect to see Bob Opsahl or Martie Salt working the extra half hour. Orlando Sentinel TV Guy Hal Boedeker reports that Vanessa Welch and Josh Benson will co-anchor the 6:30 show — which goes up against ABC’s World News on WFTV.

 “I don’t think you’re going to see a reduction in ABC ‘World News’ at all,” WFTV/WRDQ GM Shawn Bartelt told Boedeker. “You’ll see people who want local news at 6:30 coming to WRDQ.”

My 2 Cents: Benson was hired to be WFTV’s weekend anchor, but he’s moving the WRDQ 10 p.m. and 6:30 shows to replace Darrell Greene, who is leaving for Memphis. Sure looks like he’s being groomed as Opsahl’s eventual replacement. … Perhaps this new show is WFTV’s way of also gearing up to add news at 4 p.m. in the fall of 2011 once Oprah goes away. … Knowing the rivalry between WFTV and WESH, it wouldn’t surprise me if WESH had planned a 6:30 show on its sister station, WKCF-CW 18, and WFTV wanted to trump its foe by announcing now. Also wouldn’t surprise me if WESH now decides to to add a 6:30 show on CW18. … And, how embarassing would it be for WKMG’s low-rated 6 p.m. hour to get beat by WRDQ this fall!

Read more from the Orlando Sentinel here.