Archive Date 2002-02-13

N E W S B L U E Z E T T E    Wednesday, February 13, 2002
A daily newsletter, produced by, for TV professionals.
Bluezette is sponsored by Silverscape Technologies.
—Is KCAL Deal On The Rocks?
—-Investors Stung By Fox Sports
—–Olympic Announcers On The Mark
——The Joints Jumpin
——-The Axe Man Cometh
——–Quitcherbitchin, Get Cable
———El Lay Shuffle
———-Plain Jane Goes To Work
———–Dumped In Little Rock
————Too Close For Comfort?
————-Wxmen Tout Non-blizzard
————–Mrs. Bluezettes Grammar Corner

Got News? Alert the surly editor at
Search the Bluezette archives at


Debt-laden Young Broadcasting Inc. suddenly called off a conference call
with Wall Street analysts Tuesday amid reports that it was set to sell its Los
Angeles independent station KCAL-TV to Viacom Inc. for about $600 million.

The call had been scheduled for 4:15 pm EST…shortly after trading closed
in the two publicly traded companies…but was cancelled at 3pm, confusing
observers who noted that Young had been on the block, in whole or part, for
some time.

Many considered Vincent Young, chairman of the debt-laden group of 12
television stations, particularly receptive to a deal in the current
environment. They noted Tuesdays report came less than a month after Young
retained Credit Suisse First Boston as its exclusive financial adviser.

Youngs perceived receptivity to a sale also reflected the companys debt
load, which had gotten so unwieldy that a waiver was granted on certain
creditor covenants at the end of last year. In a conference call last week,
partially aimed at explaining a fourth-quarter revenue drop of 22%, chairman
Young left no doubt that reducing debt was a top priority.

Insiders now speculate that Youngs newly minted San Francisco independent
KRON, which has seen its ratings plummet since losing the NBC banner, might be
next to go.


Sallie Hofmeister (Los Angeles Times)

Stung by the high cost of sports broadcasts during one of the worst
advertising slumps in history, News Corp. on Tuesday took a $909-million
operating charge in the second quarter because of its three expensive U.S.
national sports television contracts.

News Corp.s Fox Entertainment Group wrote off $387 million of its
eight-year, $4.5-billion contract with the National Football League, $297
million of its eight-year, $1.9-billion NASCAR auto racing deal and $225
million of its six-year, $2.4-billion contract with Major League Baseball.



As what turned into The First Great Controversy of the Salt Lake Olympics
was unfolding, NBC figure-skating analysts Scott Hamilton and Sandra Bezic
delivered 6.0 performances for saying exactly what they thought.,1249,375009006,00.html?



There is no "down" time in KSL-TVs downtown Salt Lake City
newsroom these days; few moments for leisurely phone calls; little time even
for planning and preparation.

"The stakes are very high," says managing editor Con Psarras.
"The pace is accelerated, and staff adrenaline is pumping.",1249,375009023,00.html?


Jeremy Murphy (Mediaweek)

Since being named president of Merediths broadcasting division last fall,
Kevin OBrien, the former president and general manager of KTVU-TV, Coxs
highly rated Fox affiliate in San Francisco, has embarked on a dramatic
overhaul of the companys 11 stations, which, like most in the industry, are
suffering through a weak advertising economy.

Already, OBrien, who chose to work from Merediths Las Vegas Fox affiliate
KVVU instead of the companys Iowa headquarters, has fired two station
managers — Rusty Durante, former head of Fox affiliate KVVU in Las Vegas, and
Patrick North, vp/gm of CBS affiliate KPHO in Phoenix — and two news
directors; and many more changes are expected, especially at Atlantas WGCL,
Merediths low-rated affiliate.

Several industry analysts say they like what theyre seeing so far and
expect OBriens management expertise to vastly improve Merediths local TV


Sonia Mansfield (San Francisco Examiner)

San Francisco is filled with a lot of whiners.

I dont mean to be so harsh, but Im tired of hearing people complain about
the NBC affiliation switch. Yes, it sucks that about 200,000 people cant get
a clear signal from the San Jose-based KNTV, the new NBC affiliate.

My advice to you complainers is to stop your bitchin and scrounge up some
cash for cable. Right now AT&T Broadband is offering installation and the
first month free. Come on, for a mere $9 a month youll never have to mess
with those rabbit-ear antennas again.



Now, try to follow along here.

This time last year, Davida Plummer was ND of KCAL in Los Angeles.

But in September, she left the station to become an executive producer at
CNN Headline News.

She was soon replaced by Nancy Bauer Gonzales, who jumped over from El
Lays top-rated NBC owned-and-operated KNBC-TV.

Well, according to insiders, things didnt go well for Davida at CNN, and
she bolted after a newsroom blowup.

Yesterday El Lays KCAL was "tentatively" sold to Viacom for $600

So, Davidas replacement, Nancy Bauer Gonzales, is sittin in hog heaven.

But, Davida is scrambling for a job with Clevelands Raycom-owned WOIO/WUAB,
where Leesa Faust Dillon is now ND.

Lisa, before Cleveland, was EP at KCOP….in El Lay.

Got it?



Former Salt Lake City anchor Jane Clayson, who seems to get prettier and
little more dense every day, will perform ACTUAL EVERYDAY JOBS as a sweeps
stunt on CBS "Early Show."

Shell take lunch orders at the Brooklyn Diner in midtown Manhattan today
and will assist salesmen in a womens shoe department next week.

Claysons extracurricular job experience will air in a week-long feature,
"Jane on the Job," starting Monday, Feb. 25 (7-9 a.m.).

"This will give viewers a chance to see Clayson doing the same kind of
work that Americans do every day," said a CBS spokeswoman, failing to
add, "If the series goes well, we have others in mind. For instance,
"Jane gets Pregnant," or "Jane Marries a Millionaire." If
those dont work, we might try, "Jane on Unemployment" or "Jane
Gets Local Anchor Job In Atlanta."



Little Rocks KARK has promoted morning anchor Bob Clausen to the weekday
5, 6 and 10 p.m newscasts. He replaces Kent Bates, who gets dumped to

"No, no…dumped is not a good word," news director Rick Iler
might have argued. "Kent is being reassigned. He understands TV is a team
effort…and sometimes we all have to make a little sacrifice. Given time,
were sure hell learn to love the quiet, laid back morning shift. We know
hell eventually enjoy going to bed every night at 8…especially in the
summer when the sun is still high, and he cant fall asleep for hours. Hell
soon adjust to getting up at 3 in the morning, before the newspapers even
been delivered, when only drunks and cops are on the road. Sure, itll
decimate his personal life. He wont be able to maintain normal relationships.
Hell walk around like a zombie, in an eternal state of sleep deprivation. His
health will suffer. His weekend schedule will be a mess. Hell quickly find
himself out of touch with society…depressed, sullen, withdrawn. Oh, and
well probably have to ask him to take a pay cut. But dumped?" No, I
dont think thats a good word. Reassigned is better. And, of course, if he
DOESNT like it…well…."


David Folkenflik (Baltimore Sun)

The people who sign my paychecks entered into an agreement last week with
some of the folks that I write about, and boy, am I conflicted about it.

On the one hand, readers may reasonably wonder whether The Sun will tilt
its coverage in favor of WMAR because of their new partnership.

On the other hand, there is no other hand.

Its perfectly understandable that some would question whether theres any
way for the newspaper to cover local television news objectively once its
allied itself with one of the stations.

Those inclined to see favoritism or bias will find it anywhere. Yet editors
and executives here have promised that our handling of the news on this topic
will be treated like any other.


Brian Lambert (St. Paul Pioneer Press)

To use a simple analogy, last weekends nonblizzard would be to local
meteorologists what the XFL would be to any TV critic who ever hyped it.

The thing is, Im not sure there was any TV critic who hyped it. But it was
my distinct impression that every TV weathercaster in town was preaching his
own variation of a snow-blind apocalypse Friday, predictions that continued
into Saturday. Several predicted 6 inches of snow, with strong winds. Storm
warnings were declared.

Some of the TV weatherwatchers insist they werent that wrong. Or that
everyone was watching the Olympics when they backed away from their scary



Mrs. B was at her nit-picky best on her recent trip to Ohio.
Herere some notes she made while watching local news.

"He pled guilty to assault charges."
The anchor should have said PLEADED guilty.

"Stretch your vertebraes. "
The health reporter should have said VERTEBRAE, pronounced ver-ti-bray.
Thats the plural of "vertebra."

"The submarine that had an accident today is the same one that sunk
a boat with Japanese students on it last year."
The past tense of "sink" is SANK.
"Sunk" must have a helping verb with it (have sunk, has sunk, had

"Next, hear what the president had to say to Atlanta residents.
Well, it rhymes, but who among your viewers calls PEOPLE

"They havent been able to confirm the veracity of this
Its quite an impressive phrase, but "confirm the veracity" is
hardly simple language.
Whats wrong with VERIFY THIS REPORT?

And Mrs. B ends with an example of her pet peeve: fear of using the pronoun
"It makes you and I look like amateurs," said the anchor to the
Take out the "you," and would you say, "It makes I look like an
Mrs. B rests her case.

Return to
Archive Index
Return to Main Page
Copyright ? 2002 by NewsBlues. All rights