Wednesday, October 12, 2005

FOX News Style Newscasts Coming to FOX Broadcast Local Stations

Just when you thought you could get away from the Fox News Channel by watching broadcast tv, watch out! FOX News style 'news' is coming to local FOX newscasts. In an article in Media Week, new CEO of FOX Broadcasting Jack Abernethy says to expect a change in the newscasts of FOX stations. Below is an excerpt from the article:

"“We think the future of local stations is in news and information. We want to program the stations more like channels, which means having blocks of [compatible] programming that can supplement local news,” Abernethy explained. He pointed to the new syndicated Geraldo at Large with Fox News Channel reporter Geraldo Rivera as a prime example of the kind of show that would provide strong lead-ins and bookends to local station news.

To develop those news-centric blocks, the TV group will be tapping sibling Twentieth Television, also under Abernethy’s purview, in addition to Fox News Channel, which already shares content with the local stations. Contrary to popular belief, although the group is strengthening those connections with the appointment of Berg, that doesn’t necessarily mean a traditional network newscast is in Fox’s future. “It’s premature,” Abernethy said, noting that the Big Three network newscasts are losing viewers. “Fox stations have made more money doing news locally.”

Case in point: mornings, where the group has achieved broad success with its locally flavored Good Day franchise. In some markets, Fox’s local shows have beat the networks’ national product. “It’s the greatest growth area in TV; it sets up your whole day,” said Leone.

Early-afternoon news, where Rivera’s new show will begin on the Fox stations in November, is the next likely target. “We’d like to shore up the daypart, where we haven’t offered local news at all,” Abernethy said.

Strengthening the identity of the Fox TV group is also high on Abernethy’s list of priorities. While the Fox station group is No. 1 in the industry by revenue with $2.4 billion in 2005, according to BIA Financial Network estimates, the stations lack the visibility of their Big Three counterparts, which must stick in the craw of the hard-charging Ailes.

Since Abernethy joined Fox, he’s initiated training seminars among the station staff to learn writing and production techniques and use “a more conversational style rather than anchor speak,” hallmarks of the No. 1-rated cable news net Fox News Channel."

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