Thursday, January 8, 2015

It's Official: KTVU News Has Been 'Foxified'; Over-Talking, Yappy Anchors Make For Bad TV




 I didn't think it would turn out this way. Boy, was I wrong.

KTVU News has become Foxified. Certifiably.

The look, the feel, the style, you name it, the entire operation. It's a dramatic rebrand of a product that didn't need rebranding; maybe a tweak or two, but whatever is the case the new look and broadcast model is a complete mess.

First, the most glaring: anchors talking with one another. Nobody said it's against the law to speak on TV news. But KTVU's now-frequent uber-banter sounds out of place and forced. It doesn't sound right nor does it look authentic--it's just a cheap reincarnation of Happy Talk and it doesn't work as I noted not too long ago.

Moreover, KTVU's entry into chatter-fest has an artificial, non-genuine feel. You can't simply reinvent the wheel when your trademark, your style; the style that has garnered you national and local acclaim and the envy of the industry has become so noticeably altered. Just because Channel 2 anchors are talking now doesn't enhance the product. Far from it. Viewers are hip too--they see something that looks contrived-- they're going to get the remote.

This new model is probably coming from the new Fox management that took over in October. It didn't take long for the Foxies to begin augmenting their version of what TV news should look like only they, so far, have miscalculated the taste of Bay Area viewers. It's not just the new mucho-yapping, it's, for example, having  anchors have to do shill promos with the TMZ TV Show, which, not coincidently is on KTVU. It's not exactly tacky but it's also not indicative of KTVU's news acumen--again, it's a bad look. And it only figures to get worse which, if you're a Channel 2 viewer used to quality news programming, is a total bummer.

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24 comments:

  1. Interesting take on KTVU, but lets give it some time. Perhaps the change is not to your taste, but as for it being a "miscalculated the taste of Bay Area viewers", lets see what the ratings say.

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    1. You must not be from around these parts.

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  2. I found a great way to mute all the happy talk on MO2. Whenever the director goes to a transitional 3 shot or a transitional split screen 2 shot- just mute it. These are the times for the dreaded banter. I feel bad for Sal and Steve who have to participate in it. They are choking on it. Not their style.

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  3. Fox has dumbed down their national news and used the same formula to become the most viewed cable news network. Though hardly informative and mostly opinion, it has appeal to a certain element.
    It's their football, let them make the rules. Just hope it doesn't restrict free thinking and facts like their national cash cow.

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  4. More gloom and doom news from Mister Positive.

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  5. Let's face it, having an informed and educated public is no longer considered by the powers-that-be as desirable. To them, it's much better to have people stupid and malleable. Especially malleable....

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    1. Scott....you nailed it......Fox and other big corporations define what is news and report it in away they want you to see it.....an ill informed and summed populace as you so eloquently put is soooooo malleable.......as the Romans did to keep the peasants under foot...."Give them bread and circuses"

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  6. Change is in the air...KTVU's broadcast air that is. I clearly see what direction the new Fox management is going in and you need to look no further than some other stations across the country, some of which aren't Fox stations at all. For example, Tribune's stations in Chicago (WGN) and L.A. (KTLA) have implemented this format successfully and are ratings leaders in their markets. As for Fox, the Fox 5 Morning News in San Diego has gone to this format, which is closely tied to KTLA's show -- same look and feel, and often sharing live and recorded news/entertainment segments between both stations. Stream via Internet both KTLA and Fox 5 for their morning shows and you'll see what I mean. I grew up in the Bay Area and was used to a particular style of newscast. However, after moving to Southern California I realized they do things a little different down here, particularly with how local TV is done. At first I didn't like the laid-back format, thought is was a bit shallow -- but eventually it began to grow on me and I actually prefer to watch those types of stations in the morning -- I think they help put me in a better mood throughout the day. And sometimes, in addition to watching straight news, I also like to be entertained, if it's done right. However, you really need the right chemistry with on-air talent and both the L.A. and San Diego stations have succeeded in doing that. Locally, "Happy Talk" was at its best years ago with KGO-TV's Van Amburg, Jerry Jensen, Pete Giddings, and the rest of the crew... the ratings went through the roof. But I agree with Rich, KTVU's banter and talent interaction looks forced, awkward and fake. Yesterday I watched "Mornings on 2" and a rapper DJ from KMEL was mixing some hip-hop music and to see Tori Campbell jiving to the music in her anchor chair was extremely painful to watch. I'm sure the execs from Fox are aware that if they are truly going to implement this format, much needed changes will have to be carried out. It will probably make a lot of current staff at the station uncomfortable and agitated -- but sometimes change is good.

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    1. "Yesterday I watched "Mornings on 2" and a rapper DJ from KMEL was mixing some hip-hop music and to see Tori Campbell jiving to the music in her anchor chair was extremely painful to watch."

      Don't fret - THAT won't happen often in the future!

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    2. "Sum Ting Wong" Watching Tori " Ho Lee Fuk" Campbell Bopping to Crappy Hip-Hop Music!

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    3. Yeah, I saw the KMEL DJ rapping hip-hop piece too. The guy's got all his DJ equipment in the studio and then pumps up the music. The director cuts to close-up shots of Tori and other talent. Tori's wearing a conservative looking Sak's Fifth Ave. type suit and then makes gyrations with absolutely no rhythm at all. Truly bad, bad television. However when they cut to Sal, surprisingly he had all the right moves going on -- quite impressive.

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  7. FOX O&O stations have the strongest morning shows in their respective markets and they all follow the same format give or take. They do this because it works.

    I understand that many folks in the Bay Area and many who frequent this blog may have issues with FOX. Maybe it's because of politics or maybe they see this new format as condescending or...whatever. This isn't their target audience. If you haven't looked around lately much of the area is changing and fast. Blame it on tech or the population just getting older but the so-called "progressive" ideals are fading. Sure, there will always be the pinko hippie holdouts but much like Little Italy in NYC these will be reduced to a row of shops and vegan restaurants for tourists to gawk at and buy a tie dye Jerry shirt. Don't believe me? Take a look at the 2015 Giants schedule. Remember the Giants used to have Grateful Dead nights which have now been replaced with Metallica bight for the third year - a different demo (white, Republican). FOX knows that its market is here, it just needs a good reason to come together.

    As far as the happy talk looking forced and uncomfortable...that will change. Either the current on air personalities will pull it off or we'll have a whole new crew to know and love.

    This situation reminds me of when New Times bought the SF Weekly back in the 90s. Bruce Brugmann and his commie rag the Guardian were threatened by real competition and started a smear campaign against these conservative carpet baggers. Now, more than 20 years later I can still get a copy of the SF Weekly for free every Wednesday but I can't say the same for a Bay Guardian.

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    1. Pinko? Hippie? Commie? SMH.

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  8. Having Gasia shilling for TMZ is really painful....so much so that in some ways it discredits the entire newscast. Happy talk is fine if done right....but shilling for cheesy programming on a newscast is not fine. The Bay Area is still a very sophisticated area, and will continue to be with the types of jobs here and people attracted to those jobs. There may not be hippies here anymore, but there are plenty of eastern, prep school, elite liberals as well as people from Asia and Europe who lean left. Importing too much 'Fox-News' into KTVU will likely drive ratings in the other direction....good news for KPIX, KGO and others.

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  9. To be honest, I liked Claudine Wong better as a "Cold" straight forward news reader. She's a lot sexier!!

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  10. As an ex-employee of KTVU, it deeply saddens me to see the "Foxification" happening. I can no longer watch the station that I once was so proud to be a part of for so many years.

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  11. KGO News at 9 on KOFY. That's the alternative to shrilling.

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    1. That ABC7 news show on Channel 20 at 9pm is quickly becoming my favorite newscast in the Bay Area.

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  12. First of all. I told you so. Second,its just a matter of time before the KTVU girls are on the couch in mini skirts and sexy heels. What other reason to have a couch if not to show off your beauties?
    And third. If your top news anchors are asking worldly opinions from Harvey Levin,yeah,that's weird. You wait for him to say "My experience as The Peoples Court actor host tells me"..
    I don't see KTVU winning any news awards this year.

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  13. I've been noticing that there's a story/promo about a Fox TV show on every 10 PM KTVU newscast now.

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  14. I don't watch mornings on 2 but I have noticed the extra chatter on the ten o'clock news. Frank Sommerville is especially hard to see. You can tell he's trying his best to come across as concerned and sensitive after tough or touching news stories but it always comes across forced. I liked the previous style much better. Give me the damned news and I'll decide weather "wow that car chase was something else wasn't it?".

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  15. MO2 was already like this at one time,but it was done right. There were pros in front of cameras, and especially, behind the scenes. Ross orchestrated the silliness as a host so the morning anchors could keep it straight for the news. Now you have anchors with absolutely no chemistry trying to be funny at every toss to traffic or weather. They're also tossing any ole reporter into the fray doing "entertainment" segments for which they were never groomed. They need to hire once again, an entertainment personality (hello Mark Pitta/Brain Copeland/Steve McPartlin) and put the robotic reporters back in their element. The previous owner Cox, brainwashed and heavily controlled every aspect of the news, and all of a sudden, producers can have fun. I hate to tell ya, they don't know how and they have no one to show them the right way. The crew of engineers who executed the original show have been replaced by a one man director and AD in front of 10 computer monitors. The one man camtechs out in the field have 2 mics and a camera to try to do entertainment segments and are horribly undermanned and ill equipped. Just playing pop music doesn't transform the show over night either. It's damn embarrassing to watch this transition, and I fully support the idea in the morning only, but the execution is awful.

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  16. As soon as I see Gasia's face, I turn off the channel. How on earth can they replace Julie H with that loser? Gasia comes across as un-sincere, as someone whom I would not trust, as a conniving, phony backstabber. Plus, she yells the news, and she talks too fast. Please come back, Julie!

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  17. The repackaging of KTVU is perplexing. Some of it is driven by network ego. When the suits come to town, they bring "experience" to the table unseen by KTVU until now on how to operate the facility efficiently and cost effectively. Unfortunately some of the alignment we see (and much of it we don't see) is driven not by preserving or increasing ratings, but by this notion the network executives have that there is little to be learned from KTVU, but those who work at #2 Jack London Square have a good deal to learn about how things are done at Fox.

    The perplexing part is why anyone would tinker with the outlet with the highest ratings in Bay Area television news. Some will remember that the Channel 2 newscasts used to include the sounds of a teletype underneath the anchors as they reported from the studio. The SFX remained years after the last teletype machine was carted out of the building. Why did the sound remain? Because when you are operating the number one primetime newscast in the country (as they once were) you do nothing to alter your product. Tinkering with near perfection is unwise, and Cox knew it.

    The sentiment around the station is that Fox is prepared to allow the station to slip off its perch for the sake of alignment with the look and feel of a Fox facility. Perhaps they are prepared to live with the loss of ratings in the short term, with the notion that once the remodeling at KTVU is complete, any success in the ratings will be the work of Fox executives, not the work of those under the Cox banner.

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