Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Two Big Issues At Fox 2; KTVU Staffers Reeling Over 'Talk Like a Pirate Stunt'; Julie Haener Absence Worries Management; Updated: Video

 THE MOOD AT KTVU IS NOT SO MELLOW

*Staff disgust at "talk like a pirate" stunt

*Status of Julie Haener worries management

KTVU (Fox2) is in a rut.

As a matter of fact, there's a bunch of quiet finger-pointing going on and it all stems from the horrific "Talk Like a Pirate" on-air gimmick (Video) that took place last Saturday on the station's "Weekend Mornings on 2" program.

Sources close to the station tell me "several" senior staffers--including on-air anchors, reporters, producers and editors are privately fuming over the decision to run the story (really, just a scene of news people mugging the camera and "performing" a "pirate" stunt). --at least twice, no less.

Furthermore, the on-air charade apparently got the OK from VP/ND, Dana Hahn. Attempts to reach Hahn were unsuccessful.

KTVU has been in a steady transition of re-branding its newscasts to a more talk-heavy format (called in the biz, "Happy Talk"); the makeover has been orchestrated by new owner, Fox, which has transformed Channel 2 into a model of almost all their O and O's (owned and operated stations).

The change, both in appearance (splashy new Fox-inspired news graphics some of which hasn't been so swell-looking) and actual content, wasn't so radical at first and didn't cause much of a stir from staff but Saturday's buffoonery has created quite the storm.

Frank Somerville, KTVU's lead anchor, I'm told, was none-too-thrilled with the on-air pirate stunt. Of course, Somerville isn't going to say anything publicly but knowing the veteran newsman, the idea that a third-rate circus act made the air has to have him revolting.

Making matters worse at the station (and thoroughly unrelated) is the ongoing medial status involving Julie Haener, the weeknight anchor who has been recovering from emergency intestinal surgery.

It was expected that Haener would return to the anchor desk sooner rather than later but the veteran KTVU anchor posted, recently, on her Facebook page that there have been complications from her procedure and her return now is up in the air.

Haener's absence (and I wish her a speedy recovery) is of major concern to station management; senior staffers have been huddling up in conference rooms at Jack London Square talking about the ramifications of a prolonged absence. So far, KTVU's ratings have not suffered at venerable 10 PM but long-term, who knows.

Heather Holmes and Keba Arnold have been filling in. And, says an insider at the station, that's a problem.

"They're (management) worried because they really don't have a back-up plan if Julie is gone for an extended length. Holmes and Arnold just can't replace her (Haener); it would be a 'devastating hit to the station."

So you have a major TV station in the Bay Area muddled with internal problems and a pirate stunt that has several staffers in the newsroom (not to mention a majority of viewers) incensed.  Read the comments.

Sounds like someone high up needs to talk to the troops quickly at the Oakland station.

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30 comments:

  1. Julie will come back when she's good and ready & not a moment sooner, regardless of what KTVU Management says or wants. As for Keba & others of her ilk, they're welcome to leave at any time. Hmph...something stanks.

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    1. Yep, Julie's health and well-being takes precedence.

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    2. @6:39
      You were off to a rockin' start, but went off the rails near the end.

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    3. @6.39 exactly of what 'ilk' is Keba?

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  2. Looks and sounds like there is are no managers at KTVU. Who is Dana Hahn's boss? They should make Dana Hahn do the pirate imitation.

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    1. Shiver me timbers, matey. How was that?

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    2. Kathleen, Hahn's boss is GM Greggggg Kelly. Kelly doesn't breath until the NY Fox douchebags tell him to do so. Then the crap rolls downhill. The talk like a pirate stunt is a nice ploy to show who is in charge. Humiliate the talent and tell them they'll like it if they want to keep working there. The talent is now exposed as puppets on a string. Can hardly wait for the Halloween show where they will be forced to wear costumes.
      The Roman Empire would keep the peasants distracted and entertained with "Bread and Circuses" while the ruling class ran their game, and this is merely Fox Broadcastings version of the same.

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  3. So where's that Watergate-style investigation on the "San Burno" flub? I hear the FBI might get involved.

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  4. Darya must think it's dress like a pirate's wench day today...

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  5. To "insider at the station" or anyone else who agrees with their suggestion that Heather Holmes
    "Just can't replace her (Haener)" ... WHAT ARE YOU SAYING? Heather Holmes has many times the ability needed to replace JH, if given time away from her current KTVU duties. If you mean HH does have enough time in her day to do two jobs: state that. If you mean to impugn HH's abilities, then you're flat wrong: Heather can -- and someday soon should -- replace Julie (like when Leslie Griffith 'could not' replace Elaine Corral). Take it back, or clarify, or justify, attacking HH, please.

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  6. Pay Tori an obscenely fat stipend to come back and cover until Julie comes back. She and Frank were one of the great teams of all time.

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    Replies
    1. Tori was born filthy rich..doesn't need it..and perhaps you may have forgotten her "SumTingWong WeTuLow" fiasco.

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  7. If I'm Katie Marzullo, I'm sending a resume and demo reel to 2 Jack London Square, stat!

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  8. Oh yeah, I'm sure Rich Lieberman is really wishing Julie Haener "a speedy recovery" while at the same time happily dragging her personal medical issues into a another KTVU hit piece.

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  9. I'm liking Holmes more than Haener. Holmes is just as competent, and has a personality.

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    Replies
    1. I am watching KTVU more because of HH. She is "hipper" looking than Julie with her long blond hair. And I think she is sexier, if I may say that!

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    2. If you mean by coming across as a snippy sorority bitch she has a personality, you're correct. If you mean she seems like a decent person who reads the news well, I'd have to disagree.

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    3. 7:08 Are you Heather's ex-husband?

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  10. This anonymous station source overstates and overdramatizes things.

    1) Julie is coming back soon enough.
    2) If Julie was out on maternity leave would the station still be in a panic? No. And this absence looks to be a lot shorter than a maternity leave.
    3) I can't say that Arnold would make an effective backup to Julie but Holmes definitely can. And has.
    4) Anonymous 10:06 stole my thunder because I was going to go down the same path:

    - Nobody thought Barbara Simpson could be replaced...until Elaine Corral did.
    - Nobody thought Elaine Corral could be replaced...until Leslie Griffith did.
    - Nobody thought Leslie Griffith could be replaced...until Julie Haener did.

    When Julie's time at KTVU is done she will be replaced. There is more than one anchor at KTVU capable of doing so (some more effectively than others). Heather Holmes is one. Gasia is another.

    It won't be a "devastating hit to the station". The station's newscast will face far more challenges and pitfalls on account of corporate meddling than it ever would by either Holmes or Gasia taking over for Julie.

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    Replies
    1. Totally agree!

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    2. Insidecablenews:: hi I am Anonymous 10:06 and thank-you kindly for your compliment and concurrence! I watch Leslie Griffith anchor weekends and weekly reports and substitution fill-ins for decades, enamored by her beauty and brains and charisma. One outdoor report one day she had her hair out & down and I almost LOST it: geezus she had all that beautiful hair up & held back all these years, OMG she's an angel. And for decades we tolerated watching the plain cool face of Elaine Corral anchoring weekdays. They all said "Elaine" cannot be replaced -- especially by a beauty queen like Leslie Griffith. I ground my teeth for decades. The day EC unraveled and Leslie G. moved permanent to weekday anchor was a joyful day for many viewers. More than anyone Leslie Griffith put in her time loyally and professionally to finally have KTVU honor her with that earned promotion.
      I was so happy for LG:: a world was good now.
      So any dweebs who think beautiful and charismatic and smart Heather Holmes cannot excel as weeknight anchor is daft. And Heather has already loyally put in time as weekend anchor. Albeit not as long as Leslie G. did ... that was then, this is now, things are moving faster. Carolyn Johnson jumped ship just for a threatened paycut: wise to walk away from disloyal management clones.
      Let's not have KTVU lose Heather Holmes and hear smiles, charisma, caring, warmth, etc. to L.A. market. I told Heather Holmes right after she arrived about the Leslie Griffith journey from the Elaine Corral shadows to weeknight anchor to the very sad departure of Leslie G. I pray Heather isn't hurt by KTVU.

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  11. You're such a windbag! No one REALLY cares about KTVU's Talk Like A Pirate "stunt." Only you can't get over it, or you think it gives your ignorant blather some status to criticize something that came and went in a minute or two.

    It wasn't a gaffe! It was a lighthearted nod to a CELEBRATION of silliness. Get it? They were acknowledging that it's OK to be silly and talk like a pirate one day a year. Get over your pompous self. You're not worthy.

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    Replies
    1. I do. I turned the station. I watch very little KTVU now. Every time 5 tune in they're chattering about bullshit and I change channels. The gold standard for morning news is Sunday KPIX, in spite of Matier's tendency toward the melodramatic. I watch the news for info. I don't know what in hell they are doing at KTVU. It's become a clown car.

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  12. I interrupt this blog with the latest "radio" news. Cumulus has closed at 91 cents today ... down 7 centers. The third day Cumulus has closed below a dollar on the NASDAQ.

    Cumulus is near toast. The last time this happened, Citadel went to 90 cents a share, then, the next day, went to 45 cents before getting out of business ... to Cumulus.

    Bet knees are knockin' in Atlanta, the Bay Area and all over the Cumulus empire.

    We now return you to your latest blog programming. We know you have other choices of broadcast and media blogging, but we thank you for joining us. Have a good night .... and a great tomorrow.

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  13. So does anyone have any ideas on who would buy-up Cumulus and take over the operation of all the stations? Is the age of broadcast radio coming to an end?

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  14. I viewed the pirate video. How childish. It looks like a promo for a Saturday morning cartoon fest. KTVU News is quickly losing credibility -- it's sad to see what was such a respected news department turning into literally a joke right before our eyes.

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  15. #1. All best wishes to Julie Haener for a full recovery soon, whether or not she wants to come back to KTVU.

    #2. I will NOT watch the KTVU weeknights if Holmes is on. She's terrible, her arrogance just pours off the screen, and she's NOT (!!!!) attractive (though clearly she thinks she is)...

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    1. Got news for ya. I've worked with Julie. She can be just as arrogant.

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    2. Listen 6:58 and look: you want to spew gunk that Heather H. Is "NOT attractive" but yer prolly just jealous she's gorgeous. Did you also spew that Leslie Griffith wasn't pretty?
      LG was the picture of brains & beauty in 1.
      And Heather is LG's protégé in beauty×brains!
      Let us guess: u think Elaine Corral was "attractive"? EC cracked the meter, as others.

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  16. Sum Ting Wong with "talk like a pirate" day?

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