FIRST ON THE BLOG (other than Palm Beach’s Gossip Extra – GossipExtra.com): WPTV is shaking up its morning and daytime lineup, which will include a move, an expansion and the controversial removal of two long-time morning faces on WPTV.
First, the move and the expansion. Gossip Extra, run locally in my semi-home market of West Palm Beach (north of Ft. Lauderdale and Miami), is reporting that WPTV 5 will be moving its half-hour newscast at 12:00 Noon to 11:00 a.m. and expanding that newscast to an hour, once again, starting Monday September 14th, 2015. The 12:00 Noon timeslot would be replaced by Rachael Ray.
Currently, its local news at Noon, then the canceled Let’s Ask America at 12:30 p.m. Rachael Ray would take over at 12:00 Noon on the same day, the new 1-hour midday newscast takes over. With this move and expansion, WPTV 5 (NBC) will become the ONLY local station in the area with a 1-hour midday newscast at 11:00 a.m., as WPEC 12 (CBS) and WPBF 25 (ABC) both broadcast half-hour local weekday news at 12:00 Noon. WPEC 12’s noon broadcast, CBS 12 News at Noon, is also simulcast on their sister station, WTVX 34 (CW).
But second, its not without controversy. Gossip Extra is reporting that WPTV 5’s two long-time station veterans and long-time faces on Today on 5 (4:30-7:00 a.m.), John Favole and Roxanne Stein, are on their way out of the broadcast. Reports are saying that John and Roxanne, the longest on-air morning duo in WPB TV, are being re-assigned and are being moved from the high-rated Today on 5 to the low-rated WFLX 29 (FOX)’s FOX 29 Morning News, in which WPTV 5 produces for WFLX 29 from 7:00-9:00 a.m.
John and Roxanne have been doing the show since 1995 (my birth year) and are being replaced by two other newscasters at WPTV 5, Ashleigh Walters (who does Today on 5 Weekend) and Mike Trim (who currently does FOX 29 Morning News and WPTV NewsChannel 5 at Noon). They will finish their 20-year run on WPTV 5’s Today on 5 on Sept. 4th and start at WFLX 29 on Sept. 7th, with the new broadcast to start a week later.
The new broadcast, WPTV NewsChannel 5 Midday, will be anchored by John and Roxanne, joined by Traffic Reporter Hollani Davis (who also does the morning news and traffic from 7:00-9:00 a.m. on WFLX 29) and StormTeam 5 Weather with Meteorologist Glenn Glazer (who will also remain on the 4:30-7:00 a.m. broadcast).
This is what Gossip Extra is reporting and as you can tell, John and Roxanne were not pleased when they received the news about the changes:
“Rox and John are basically being put out to pasture,” one insider says. “Nobody watches FOX in the morning, and the 11 a.m. show is for an audience of at-home moms and unemployed people.”
I’m told the duo looked grim after a meeting with management this morning and walked out of the newsroom without speaking with anyone.
“It’s a big slap in their face,” the source continued, “but Ashleigh and Mike have been working very hard. They’re the future of WPTV.”
In his email, Lloyd Bucher, the station’s new manager, wrote: “John and Roxanne have done a tremendous job helping us to retain the #1 spot in the market and I am confident that this duo with Hollani will build a strong 11 a.m. newscast too.
“This move is intended to serve our morning news viewers on all platforms. On the TV stations alone, we now will be producing five and a half hours of local news each weekday before the clock even hits 12 o’clock noontime. That brings our total local news production to over 58 hours per week.”
So as much as the new midday broadcast is exciting for most, WPB TV viewers will be losing two long-time faces in the most important timeslots in the morning, in the turn, making the broadcast #1. It’s very unfortunate that it had to be done this way.