Viewers Nix WPIX News

The early reaction to WPIX New York revamping its 10 p.m. news does not appear favorable. The Tribune station moved Jodi Applegate, formerly of Cablevision’s News12 Long Island, into the anchor chair, and shifted Jim Watkins and Kaity Tong to weekends and out in the field, respectively.

Mr. G and Jodi A.

News Director Bill Carey has been adamant about trying new things at the CW affiliate, such as the new 4 a.m. newscast. Doing the same old thing against the likes of WABC, WCBS, WNBC and WNYW isn’t going to win ratings points, of course.

“We need to take advantage of every opportunity,” he told me last week, “and think differently.”

Richard Huff writes:

While Ch. 11 should get credit for trying something new, the first night fell short as a game-changer. It was a mix of news and infotainment rivaling the junk VH1 churns out on a regular basis.

“My husband and I are longtime viewers of the program and have been distressed about the near-constant tinkering of the program, but this latest change has put us over the edge,” wrote Laura Velazquez. “I thought the show was a train wreck, so incredibly disjointed and definitely not what I want to watch before shutting the TV for the evening.”

(It’s funny, Huff keeps referring to WPIX as “Ch. 11″ in the story, and I keep thinking he’s writing “Chapter 11,” which of course WPIX parent Tribune has been in for almost two years…but perhaps for not much longer.)

Of course, it takes time for a revamped newscast–or a revamped anything, for that matter–to find its voice. And the unhappy viewers are more likely to say something negative, I’d think, than the impressed viewers.

But the early reaction can’t be encouraging for WPIX.

“Go from literate, classy anchors to hyperkinetic jumpy touch screens,” wrote [viewer] Francine Smilen. “I am done!”

Michael Malone

Michael Malone, senior content producer at B+C/Multichannel News, covers network programming, including entertainment, news and sports on broadcast, cable and streaming; and local broadcast television. He hosts the podcasts Busted Pilot, about what’s new in television, and Series Business, a chat with the creator of a new program, and writes the column “The Watchman.” He joined B+C in 2005. His journalism has also appeared in The New York Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Playboy and New York magazine.