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WWOR Replacing Evening Newscast With Show on New Jersey Politics, Issues

WWOR, the Fox-owned MyNetworkTV affiliate serving the New York market, is canceling its 10 p.m. newscast and replacing it with “Chasing New Jersey,” a 30-minute program focused on “issues driving conversations” in the state.

WWOR, which is licensed to and based in Secaucus, N.J., will outsource production of the show to Fairfax Productions, a production company overseen by Dennis Bianchi, the vice president and general manager of Fox-owned WTXF in Philadelphia. Bianchi, the show’s creator, will share oversight of “Chasing New Jersey” with Dianne Doctor, the recently-named station manager at WWOR.

The change will result in a handful of layoffs, although it is not immediately clear how many people will lose their jobs. WWOR’s on-air staff will be assigned to new roles, station sources say, including main anchor Brenda Blackmon who will produce and anchor news specials for WWOR. Co-anchor Harry Martin has been offered a reporter position at sister station WNYW. Meteorologist Audrey Puente and sportscaster Russ Salzberg will take on increased roles at WNYW.

“Chasing New Jersey” will originate from Trenton, N.J. and will feature Bill Spadea as “ringleader” and several reporters as “chasers.” Spadea is a former Republican nominee for U.S. Congress in New Jersey’s 12th district.

TVSpy has found filings with the U.S. Patent and Trademark office that show Fox Television Stations has registered for trademarks of “Chasing New Jersey,” “Chasing Seattle,” “Chasing Texas, “Chasing Florida,” “Chasing San Francisco, “Chasing Charlotte,” and “Chasing America.” Except for Seattle and San Fransisco, Fox has an O&O in each area.

“New Jersey’s politics, infrastructure, businesses and celebrities continue to make national headlines. Though challenges persist, it is no doubt an exciting time to live, work, raise a family in the Garden state,” Doctor said in a statement. “We have created a unique and valuable platform to showcase just that.”

WWOR has been producing news since 1971 when it launched a noon newscast, and was still then based in New York City. In 1983 an 8 p.m. newscast debuted. When the station moved to Secaucus in 1987, the newscast moved to 10 p.m., and grew to an hour. In 2009 the 10pm news moved to 11 p.m., and was shortened to 35 minutes, before returning to 10 p.m. in 2011. On many nights, the weather and sports segments for WNYW’s New York-based newscast originated from WWOR’s Secaucus studio. The two affiliates have been sister stations since 2000, when News Corp. bought WWOR from Chris-Craft.

“Chasing New Jersey,” which premieres Monday, will air at 10 p.m. on WWOR and at 4 a.m. the following day on WTXF, leading into the Philadelphia station’s morning newscast. The last 10 p.m. newscast was yesterday.

More from Fox below.

WWOR My9 PRESENTS “CHASING NEW JERSEY” JULY 8TH

Program to Feature New Jersey Decision Makers and Citizens

NEW JERSEY – WWOR will debut “Chasing New Jersey,” a 30-minute topical program, focusing on all things New Jersey, from interviews with local politicians and residents, to the issues driving conversations in the state, announced Dianne Doctor, Vice President and Station Manager, WWOR My9. The program will air weekdays on WWOR My9 (10-10:30 p.m.) and on WTXF FOX 29, leading into the station’s morning news block.

In making the announcement, Doctor stated, “New Jersey’s politics, infrastructure, businesses and celebrities continue to make national headlines. Though challenges persist, it is no doubt an exciting time to live, work, raise a family in the Garden state. We have created a unique and valuable platform to showcase just that.”

Each night, the “Ringleader” of the program will take viewers on a fast-paced, unpredictable ride across the state of New Jersey as “Chasers” hit the streets to cover the stories that are placing New Jersey firmly in the national headlines. Originating from the state capital of Trenton, “Chasing” will cover a broad range of topics and issues, including interviews with local politicians, law enforcement officials and citizens on a variety of issues affecting New Jersey communities. Nothing is off limits in this 30-minute program.

Created by Dennis Bianchi, Vice President, Fairfax Productions and Vice President and General Manager, WTXF FOX 29 Philadelphia, “Chasing New Jersey” will be produced by Fairfax Productions. Jerry Burke will serve as executive producer of the program.

Added Bianchi, “This type of evolution is long-overdue in local news and is intended to shake up and revitalize the genre.  It’s about covering stories of real interest and importance in a new, refreshing and non-derivative way, with depth, context, interaction and debate.”

WWOR is part of the FOX Television Stations group, one of the nation’s largest owned-and-operated network broadcast groups, comprising 28 stations in 18 markets and covering nearly 37.28 % of U.S. television homes.  This includes six duopolies in the top 10 markets: New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Dallas, Washington, D.C. and Houston; as well as duopolies in Minneapolis, Phoenix, Orlando and Charlotte.

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