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Posted: 4:36 p.m. Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Fox 7 to launch 10 p.m. newscast 



By Gary Dinges

Austin’s already competitive 10 p.m. news landscape is heating up.

Fox-owned KTBC will debut a 30-minute newscast in that time slot weeknights this fall, making it the city’s fourth English-language broadcast station to offer local news at that hour.

Central Texas has a pair of Spanish-language 10 p.m. newscasts, as well.

The new Fox 7 newscast will debut sometime in August, the station said.

KTBC hasn't revealed yet who will anchor the broadcast. Christine Haas and Mike Warren helm Fox 7’s current evening newscasts at 5 p.m. and 9 p.m., which will continue to air.

This isn’t the first time Fox 7 has aired a 10 p.m. newscast. The station had one until August 2000, when it was replaced by the 9 p.m. newscast. At the time, reruns of “Seinfeld” and “The Simpsons” ran at 9 p.m., bridging the hour-long gap between Fox primetime and KTBC’s 10 p.m. news.


From an American-Statesman story that ran July 14, 2000, announcing the cancellation of the 10 p.m. newscast: 

"We were the only Fox affiliate in the country that ran a late news that didn't come out of Fox prime,'' said Danny Baker, general manager of KTBC. "It's something I've wanted to do since I got here three years ago, but the home office (Fox) felt the success of 'The Simpsons' and 'Seinfeld' from 9 to 10 was not to be fooled with."

The station's disastrous ratings in May probably had something to do with the change, since the station not only finished last in the local news race but was beaten by reruns of "Fresh Prince" at 5 p.m. and reruns of "Friends" at 10 p.m. KTBC's local news has struggled ever since the station switched network affiliations from CBS to Fox in 1995.

"This lets us counter-program the competition," Baker said. "Why go head to head with the same news? And ours is going to be different."


In the most recent Nielsen “sweeps” period, KVUE had the No. 1 local newscast at 10 p.m., followed by KXAN and then KEYE.

The new KTBC newscast is one of several announced Wednesday set to air on Fox-owned stations nationwide, including ones in Atlanta, Charlotte, Minneapolis, Phoenix and Washington, D.C.

“Uninformed critics say big companies are cutting local news,” Fox Television Stations CEO Jack Abernethy said in a statement. “However, the opposite is true at Fox. We are expanding in a big way.”

Gary Dinges

About Gary Dinges

Gary Dinges covers bars/restaurants, movies, music, radio and TV -- plus a bunch of other fun stuff -- for the Austin American-Statesman.

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