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New News Sets in Greenville, NC and Bakersfield, CA

Station owners and GMs continue to open their wallets for new news sets. The latest at Scripps-owned KERO-TV (ABC) in Bakersfield (upper left) and Media General-owned WNCT (CBS) in Greenville, NC (upper right).

NewscastStudio reports the KERO set is similar to Scripps’ KJRH-TV in Tulsa. KERO was one of the stations added to the Scripps portfolio when McGraw-Hill got out of the TV business late last year.

NewscastStudio says the new set at WNCT is designed around the stations new graphic look and “features a large anchor desk and working weather center.”

But it’s pretty clear that blues and browns are still the color of choice for TV news sets.

Jeff Varner Joins WNCT as Evening Anchor

Jeff Varner is joining WNCT, the CBS affiliate in Greenville, N.C., as the anchor of the 6 and 11 p.m. newscasts.

Varner comes to Greenville from New York City, where he was a general assignment reporter at CW affiliate WPIX. He replaces Allan Hoffman, who is retiring after more than two decades at WNCT. Varner wrote an introductory blog post on the station’s website this week:

For two weeks I’ve been able to observe, and from behind the scenes, participate in the shows you’ve been watching.  It afforded me the opportunity to get to know people, understand how this “on-your-side” machine works, and better envision something even stronger.

I can’t fill Allan Hoffman’s shoes if I tried.  So I won’t.  Read more

Scott Nichols Named News Director of Bonten Media Group’s North Carolina Stations

Bonten Media Group has named Scott Nichols news director of its Eastern North Carolina news operations, which encompass WCTI, the ABC-affiliate in New Bern, and Fox-affiliates WFXI in Morehead City and WYDO in Greenville.

“I am excited to add a person of Scott Nichols journalistic character to lead the WCTI-TV and the Fox Eastern Carolina news operation,” said Lyle Schulze, vice president and general manager of Bonten Media Group’s Eastern North Carolina stations. Read more

WBBJ Taps Keith Baker as News Director

Keith Baker has been hired as news director at WBBJ, the ABC-affiliate in Jackson, TN. The move was confirmed to TVSpy by WCTI, where Baker is currently the assistant news director.

Baker joined WCTI last year from WFTS, the ABC-affiliate in Tampa, where he was an assignment editor. He has also worked at WPXI in Pittsburgh as an assignment editor and assignment manager.

He replaces Robert Davidson, who left the station to become news director for WCBI in Columbus, MS.

>Update: WBBJ has released an official announcement on Baker’s hire. He will start May 14 in Jackson, the town where his parents went to college and his uncle and grandmother have previously lived. Read more

Katie Jeffries Joining WJXX-WTLV in Jacksonville

Katie Jeffries is joining WJXX-WTLV, the Gannett duopoly in Jacksonville, as a general assignment reporter, TVSpy has learned.

Jeffries makes the move from WCTI, the ABC-affiliate in Greenville, NC. She was hired as the Greenville bureau chief in April 2010 and was promoted to weekend morning anchor in May 2011. Prior to joining WCTI, she worked at WHIZ, the NBC-affiliate in Zanesville, OH.

Jeffries’ job was posted on the WCTI website this morning. A job listing for a weekend meteorologist was also posted; station sources tell TVSpy that Dominic Brown is bound for Norfolk, VA.

After 26 Years at WNCT, Allan Hoffman Will Retire

WNCT anchor Allan Hoffman announced he will retire this Fall after 26 years at the Greenville CBS-affiliate.

“I won’t disappear from the airwaves here at WNCT,” Hoffman said in his on-air announcement. “I hope to provide specialty reports from time to time, but I feel this is a good opportunity to step back and spend more time with my family.”

Hoffman has been in local television for 42 years, 26 of them at WNCT. He will continue to anchor the 6 and 11 p.m. newscasts alongside Amanda Goodman through the Summer. Read more

Sports Anchor Drew Hinesley Joins WCTI from WCYB

Drew Hinesley has joined WCTI, the ABC-affiliate for Eastern North Carolina, as a sports anchor and reporter.

Hinesley was a sports reporter at WCYB in Bristol, VA, for just seven months before joining WCTI. Prior to that, he spent six years as a caddy on the LPGA tour.

Hinesley first appeared on WCTI Monday, delivering a report about Bubba Watson‘s victory at the Masters.

WCTI Adds Additional News Broadcast at 5:30 p.m.

WCTI, the ABC affiliate for Eastern North Carolina, is adding another half-hour of news to their lineup. The new show will air at 5:30 p.m. and debut on August 15.

Anchored by Brian North and Jaime McCutcheon, the show will bring the collective hours of news produced by WCTI and sister stations WFXI-WYDO to 30 hours weekly.

“We are excited about bringing the Greenville, New Bern and Jacksonville market this 5:30 p.m. newscast,” VP-GM Lyle Schulze said in a statement. “Local news is the signature of Bonten Media Group and WTCI-WFXI-WYDO … we are thrilled to provide our viewers and advertisers with even more local news and content.”

The station currently airs “Inside Edition” in the 5:30 p.m. timeslot.

Jaime McCutcheon Hired As WFXI-WYDO Anchor

Jaime McCutcheon has left WOWT for WFXI-WYDO in North Carolina. She will be the primary evening anchor on the Fox affiliate.

McCutcheon has been the weekend anchor at WOWT, the NBC affiliate in Omaha, for the past five years. She  has also spent time at WMAZ in Macon, GA, and KDLT in Sioux Falls, SD.

The WFXI-WYDO duopoly is operated by the Bonten Media Group and covers the Greenville-New Bern-Jacksonville, NC, market. McCutcheon will co-anchor the 10 p.m. broadcast with Brian North.

McCutcheon is a University of Georgia graduate who plans to spend time at the beach with her husband and daughter when she’s not on the air.

The Highest Form of Flattery? WNCT Airs Nearly Identical Promo as WCVB

The side-by-side comparison is striking: two promos, one from Boston’s WCVB and the other from WNCT in eastern North Carolina, that both hype an upcoming series titled “Assignment: Afghanistan” using a nearly identical script.

In February, WCVB’s Sean Kelly traveled to Kabul and reported on the work of a Massachusetts National Guard unit. Now, WNCT’s Chris Brown is in Afghanistan on a similar assignment.  So what gives?

It turns out that WNCT’s mirror-image promo, first reported by the blog I Do Promoz, was the product of a simple misunderstanding. Read more

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