To hear some tell it, Katie Couric, former anchor of “CBS Evening News” and co-host of the “Today” show, could become the next Oprah Winfrey when her new daytime talkshow launches Sept. 10. The new syndicated show has been snapped up by TV stations in 95 of the nation’s top 100 markets. But not in Tucson.
The hour-long show is being distributed by the syndication arm of Disney-ABC and will be shown on many ABC owned and affiliated stations when the network cuts back on an hour of daytime programming in the fall.
In Tucson, ABC-affiliate KGUN 9 has opted instead to fill that hour at 2 p.m. weekdays with a new talk show by “Survivor” host Jeff Probst.
NBC-affiliate KVOA 4 similarly found itself looking to fill a daytime hour with the cancellation of Nate Berkus’ show but opted to pick up a new show hosted by actress Ricki Lake, who is looking to stage a comeback with her second daytime TV talk show.
Among Tucson stations, some of the biggest changes in daytime syndicated fare are taking place at Fox-affiliate KMSB 11 where Robert Canales, director of sales and station operations, says the station is beefing up its daytime block of talk shows. But instead of Couric, KMSB is adding one show hosted by comedian Steve Harvey, that will air at noon weekdays, and the other is hosted by Trisha Goddard, a conflict resolution expert, that will air at 1 p.m.
Canales says KMSB is also adding a new show to lead-off its afternoon block of court shows at 2 p.m. It’s called “Last Shot with Judge Gunn. Presiding over the courtroom is former Washington County, Arkansas Circuit Judge Mary Ann Gunn offering people who had been convicted of various drug offenses and minor acts an alternative to prison. Aside from the imagery, the title refers to people getting a “last shot” at redeeming their lives. It’s not your run-of-the mill small claims, divorce or family squabble court room, Canales says.
Neither CBS-affiliate KOLD 13 or CW-affiliate KWBA 58 are making changes to their daytime line-ups next month.
As for why Couric’s new show didn’t get picked up, local station execs didn’t offer reasons for rejecting it, per se. The situation was more a matter of none seeing a reason to pick it up. Especially, as one confided, considering the stiff licensing fees ABC syndication was asking. They had to, judging from trade reports that have calculated the costs to produce Couric’s show will amount to about $1 million a week — it will produced live every afternoon in New York — and there’s another $20 million that’s supposed to go Couric and her executive producer Jeff Zucker, former president and CEO of NBC before majority ownership was bought out by Comcast last year.
Names in news
Gina Trunzo has notified officials at KOLD 13/KMSB 11 that she won’t be returning as co-anchor of “Fox 11 Daybreak.” Trunzo has been away on medical leave since mid-May. She and Mark Stine had co-hosted the 7-9 a.m. “Daybreak” on KMSB since it was launched on Feb. 1 under a shared services agreement in which KOLD produces news programming for both KMSB and KOLD. Trunzo had been a weather and entertainment reporter at KMSB prior to the shared services agreement and was reportedly one of the first on-air personalities KOLD taped after the agreement was made. The circumstances surrounding her medical leave have been kept quiet and haven’t even been subject to the usual media gossip. Trunzo and orthodontist Dr. Richard Ziehmer were married last October. Debbie Bush, general manager of KOLD, expressed sadness over Trunzo’s departure and said the stations would begin a search for her replacement.
Reporter Jessica Chapin is leaving KGUN 9 to take a job as a digital journalist with the City of Gilbert. Her last day at KGUN will be Aug. 10.
Long-time Tucsonans might remember Tim Hattrick and Willy D. Loon, who were teamed together as “Tim and Willy” from 1990 to 1993 doing the morning show on KRQ 93.7-FM and setting ratings records for the station. They left KRQ unceremonious as part of an ownership change and moved to Phoenix where they went country, working at one station for three years, before going to another for 10 years and then back to their original station in 2009. Now they’re off the air again but promising to keep listeners informed and entertained online at http://timandwilly.com . Although the pair insisted their parting with their latest employer, KMLE, which is owned by CBS, was amicable, they believe they were cut because station management wants to play more music.
K-Love moves transmitter
Radio station K-Love KLTU 88.1-FM is now broadcasting with more power from its new transmitter location in the Tucson Mountains west of downtown. Doug Martin, president and general manager of the Good News Communications, says the new site gives K-Love vastly improved reception in northwest Tucson and Oro Valley making it comparable to other major FM stations in the market. The station had been broadcasting from atop Mount Bigelow in the Santa Catalinas.
Along with the relocation of the transmitter, K-Love has boosted power to 15,000 watts from 1,500 watts.
K-Love features a format of adult contemporary Christian music distributed by Educational Media Foundation.
Contact David Hatfield at firstname.lastname@example.org or (520) 295-4237. Inside Tucson Media appears weekly.