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Tuesday, November 22, 2011

UPDATED: Is Eyewitness News making a comeback? Big changes coming to Local 7, NEWS 25 newscasts next week

UPDATE, 9:40 p.m. WEDNESDAY:  Local 7 will continue to have news each weekday morning, but instead of airing between 5 and 8 a.m. as it does now, it will run from 7 to 8 a.m. and will be anchored by Randy Moore and Julie Dolan.

In addition, Local 7 Lifestyles will also continue from 8 to 9 a.m. and will be anchored by Stefanie Martinez and Julie Dolan.  Kayla Moody is moving to evenings.

Drew Gardner and David Heckard will be the stations' morning reporters.  Heckard will report three days a week in addition to his weekend weather duties.


PREVIOUSLY:  Nexstar Broadcasting's purchase of WEHT-NEWS 25 and the move of Local 7 WTVW's operations to Henderson is leading to big news changes for both stations.

I'm told that the stations' newscasts will be known by a new name ― and the brand most often advanced by my sources is Eyewitness News, which was last used by WTVW before Channel 7 switched affiliations from ABC to Fox in late 1995.

So, who will anchor the new Eyewitness News, if that is indeed what it will be called?

WTVW's Randy Moore and Julie Dolan will move from weeknights to mornings, anchoring with meteorologist Ron Rhodes what's currently known as NEWS 25 Daybreak.  Brad Byrd, Shelley Kirk and NEWS 25 chief meteorologist Wayne Hart will be the evening anchor team, with Local 7's Drew Amman handling sports duties.

Breaking the evening newscasts down further, Shelley Kirk will anchor the 4 p.m. newscast solo.  Brad Byrd will anchor with Kirk at 5, 6 and 10 p.m., and will anchor the 6:30 and 9 p.m. newscasts on his own.

It's not yet clear who will anchor on weekends, nor is the complete makeup of the reporting staff known, although there is word that current NEWS 25 weekend anchor David Shepherd and Daybreak anchor Jordan Vandenberge will be among the stations' reporters.

And while I don't yet know if Local 7 will still have its morning or noon newscasts, it is known that the station will still air evening news, at 6:30 and 9 p.m.  NEWS 25 ― which may be known as Local 25, according to some sources ― will air news at 4, 5, 6 and 10 p.m., as it now does.

I'm also told that the temporary news set that has been under construction in NEWS 25's newsroom is nearly complete.  It'll be used beginning Dec. 1 ― one week from Thursday ― when the new newscasts go live for the first time.  No timetable has been released for the permanent set's completion.

I tried to contact Local 7’s vice-president and general manager, Mike Smith, and news director, Bob Walters, to confirm the changes today; however, neither has yet replied to my request for comment.

There’s much more to come with this story; stay with JDTVB and whenever more information becomes available, you’ll read it here first.


Northov_Henderson said...

So if I'm reading correctly between the lines, the "News 25" brand is getting dropped, right?

Northov_Henderson said...

The Titan TV programming grid already reflects some of the upcoming changes reported in this story. Titan TV also lists 25.2 (News 25 Sports Channel) programming on December 1 as "To Be Announced".

Jake's DTV Blog said...

Yes, that's correct from my understanding ... Local 25 will be the new name.

Ron said...

Regarding "Eyewitness News," I called it first:

Maybe Nexstar is reading this blug? If so, Nexstar...ABC7 WEHT with the same logo as used by other ABC affiliates operating on channel 7. Make WTVW "Local 28." No one will notice if "Local 7" becomes "Local 28."

Ron said...

Oh, and Nexstar, I'll take $30,000 as a consultant fee for giving you a new title for WEHT's newscasts. ;-)

jsmith25 said...

Brad will be anchoring nonstop week nights it seems like...Also happy to see Wayne will be on during the evening in case of severe weather.