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WNYW Drops Ball on Barba

Whether reporting on the latest Jack Bauer bind or Simon Cowell barb, the news teams at Fox affiliates are aces at pushing network synergy—especially during sweeps. But Fox’s New York City flagship, WNYW, dropped the ball last week on its American Idol tie-in.

During Idol’s Wednesday broadcast, a series of Fox5News promos breathlessly urged viewers to tune in at 10 p.m. for a report promising revealing photos of New Jersey Idol hopeful Antonella Barba.

But as the newscast got under way, there was scant mention of Barba or the racy photos. It wasn’t until 10:45 that anchor Rosanna Scotto said technical difficulties had scuttled the segment.

Turns out Fox5 spiked the Barba story in the name of democracy. According to a WNYW spokesperson, the station did not want to influence viewers who were still dialing and texting in their votes. (And this didn’t occur to anyone before the station began plugging the story?)

As for the photos—which include a shot of Barba and friends topless at the beach, albeit with strategically placed hands—they could be found online last week.

Alas, none were available on Barba’s MySpace page. With yet another News Corp. property in the mix, WNYW might’ve run the story and scored a cross-promotional trifecta.