Sunday, February 24, 2008

CBS5 to launch 10 p.m. newscast on Ch. 44

CBS5 plans take on Channel 2's top rated "10 O'Clock News" in a head-to-head competition starting in one week.

Dana King, Ken Bastida, Dennis O’Donnell and Roberta Gonzales will anchor a 30-minute 10 p.m. newscast on the CBS's Channel 44 starting March 3 which will be broadcast in HD. The same quartet will continue to anchor Channel 5's 11 p.m. news.

The move follows the introduction of primetime newscasts by ABC7 on Channel 20 in January 2007 and KTVU on Channel 36 in January of this year. But the Channel 20 newscast airs at 9 p.m. and Channel 36's news is at 7 p.m. No TV station in the market has an 8 p.m. news.

While the Channel 20 and Channel 36 newscasts air five days a week, the new Channel 44 "Eyewitness News" will be seen seven days a week. Ann Notarangelo and meteorologist Lawrence Karnow will anchor the weekend shows. Rick Quan will be the sports anchor on Saturday nights and Dennis O’Donnell on Sunday nights.

CBS5 will launch its 10 p.m. newscast just 11 weeks before longtime KTVU anchor Dennis Richmond retires on May 21 after 40 years at the station.

Channel 2's competitors have launched numerous 10 p.m. newscasts over the years but haven't been able to knock off KTVU in the ratings.

In 1992, KRON 4, then the market's NBC affiliate, and KPIX 5 switched their network primetime lineups from 8-11 p.m. to 7 to 10 p.m. so that they could air their late newscasts at 10 p.m. against Channel 2. CBS and NBC executives in New York were irate, but couldn't do anything about it -- they didn't own those stations. At the time KPIX was owned by Westinghouse and KRON was owned by the families that also owned the Chronicle. KGO-TV, owned by ABC since it went on the air in 1949, didn't change its schedule and kept its late news at 11.

However, neither Channel 4 or 5 were able to beat Channel 2 at 10 p.m. A year later, under heavy pressure from NBC, KRON 4 moved primetime back to 8-11 p.m. KPIX 5 stuck with early prime until 1998.

Just as KPIX was moving its late news from 10 to 11, Channel 20 launched the "WB20 News at 10," a one-hour newscast anchored by Cheryl Hurd, formerly of KPIX, that was intended to have "edge and energy," according to a Tim Goodman column. The newscast was canceled in 2002.

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