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Archives: June 2011

Former WABC Weathercaster Heidi Jones Pleads Not Guilty While Her Lawyer Seeks Dismissal

Former WABC weathercaster Heidi Jones pleaded not guilty on Wednesday to charges that she lied to police about an attempted assault in Central Park last year, according to the Daily News.

Meanwhile, Jones’s lawyer is working to have the case thrown out.

“We are going to seek dismissal of the indictment on the grounds she’s been denied a speedy trial,” said lawyer Paul Callan, pointing out that prosecutors failed to bring the case to trial within the established 90-day window following Jones’s first court appearance on January 5th.

The case took an unexpected turn earlier this month when prosecutors moved towards an indictment in the case, pushing a trial further into the future.

Gone From WNBC, Len Berman Returns to ‘Today’

“It is a pleasure–and we mean that–to welcome back our good friend, Len Berman,” Matt Lauer announced this morning, welcoming Berman back to the “Today” show.

“Today” has brought back Berman’s signature “Spanning the World” segment, a rundown of highlights and bloopers from the world of sports that the veteran New York sportscaster contributed to the show for 20 years before his WNBC contract was not renewed in 2009.

“I’m thrilled to reconnect with my good buddies Matt, Al, Ann, and Natalie,” Berman told FishbowlNY recently about his return to “Today.” “A great crew on and off camera. It was always one of my highlights.”

WNBC sent Berman packing in the spring of 2009 after 24 years with the station. Read more

WRC Anchor Craig Melvin Makes a Cameo in ‘Transformers’ As a TV Reporter

WRC’s Craig Melvin is putting his anchoring skills to good use. The Washington, DC-based anchor has a cameo as a TV reporter in “Transformers: Dark of the Moon,” which opens today.

“It’s a scene in DC and there’s a lot of activity going on behind me,” Melvin tells Otis Taylor, Jr of The State. “I’m just supposed to be describing the activity.”

Melvin, who did four or five takes of his scene while the movie was filming in 2008, has also played a television anchor on recently-canceled NBC drama “The Event.” He spoke out about his role in “Transformers” last fall on the WRC website, but due to contractual obligations with the movie, the station was forced to remove the post.

Ted Rowlands heads to Chicago

TVNewser reports former KTVU San Francisco, KSBW Salinas-Monterey and KBJR Duluth reporter Ted Rowlands is headed back to the Midwest as CNN’s Chicago-based correspondent. The University of Wisconsin-Madison grad got his start at KBJR.

Rowlands is the first fulltime correspondent for CNN in Chicago in nearly two years, since Susan Rosegen, now with WGNO in New Orleans, was let go from the network.

New Moon Brings NBC Affiliates to Four New Markets

New Moon Communications, an Oklahoma start-up with a broadcasting veteran at the helm, has agreed to bring NBC affiliates to four small markets by the end of 2011.

New Moon will buy four TV stations from the Minority Media and Telecommunications Council: WDON in Dothan, AL, KJNE in Jonesboro, AR, WZMC in Jackson, TN, and KUMK in Ottumwa, IA. The company is owned by Darnell Washington, who has worked in television for nearly thirty years in a variety of different sales and management capacities.

None of the markets currently has an NBC affiliate. “NBC deserves to be in every market there is,” Washington tells TVNewsCheck. He says New Moon has the capital to upgrade facilities and purchase syndicated programming to augment the network programming at each station.

Jim Gilchriest Set to Become News Director of WAVY-WVBT

Jim Gilchriest, who has served as news director for Belo’s KTVB since 2007, is set to join WAVY-WVBT, a LIN Media duopoly serving the Hampton Roads area of Virginia.

A WAVY-WVBT official confirmed the move to TVSpy, saying that there would be an official announcement in mid-July when Gilchriest joins the station.

During his time in Boise, Gilchriest led KTVB to several top honors, including a national Edward R. Murrow Award for Overall Excellence in 2010.

He is replacing April Samp, who left WAVY-WVBT in May after serving as news director for less than a year. Read more

NBC’s ‘The Playboy Club’ Finds a Home in Salt Lake

NBC has found a place for racy new drama “The Playboy Club” in the Salt Lake City market — KMYU, the area My Network affiliate.

NBC’s own Salt Lake City affiliate, KSL, declined to carry the show, citing a policy to avoid programming which the audience may deem “objectionable.” KSL is owned by Bonneville International, which is controlled by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.

“We respect the position of KSL and are pleased that KMYU can provide a home for ‘The Playboy Club,’” KMYU vice president and general manager Steve Carlston told TV Guide. “This highly anticipated crime drama will now have the opportunity to be seen by the viewers throughout (the Salt Lake City market).”

KMYU will air “The Playboy Club” in its regular timeslot, at 9 p.m. on Monday nights.

Nexstar Shifts WFXW’s Affiliation From Fox to ABC as Part of Nine-station Deal

WFXW will end their affiliation agreement with Fox and become the Terre Haute market’s ABC affiliate September 1, Nexstar broadcasting announced today. The deal is part of a long-term agreement that extends current ABC affiliations at nine stations currently owned by Nexstar.

The announcement comes at a particularly tense time for Fox and its affiliates. At issue is Fox’s demand of 25 cents per subscriber from affiliated stations in the top 125 markets, a number that could climb to as much as 50 cents in the fourth year of the contract.

WFXW’s Fox affiliation agreement ended a year ago, but the station has continued to operate under a previous contract while Fox and Nexstar attempted to negotiate a renewal. The station will change its call letters to WAWV, short for ABC for the Wabash Valley.

Last week, Fox dropped Nexstar stations in Springfield and Fort Wayne. Earlier today, Nexstar announced that Evansville station WTVW will become independent after its Fox affiliation expires next month.

Robert Furlong Named VP-GM at Tribune’s WPMT

Robert Furlong has been named vice president and general manager of Tribune’s WPMT, a Fox-affiliate in Harrisburg, PA.

“Bob has the talent and experience we need to achieve continued success in Harrisburg,” said Nils Larsen, Tribune Broadcasting’s CEO, in announcing the move. “He’s been successful at growing ratings and revenues against tough competition, he understands the importance of developing a strong online and mobile presence, and he knows the vital role that WPMT-TV plays in the community.”

Furlong comes to WPMT from VCI Solutions, a provider of software to the cable and broadcast TV industries, where he has served as CEO and president since last spring. Before joining VCI, Furlong held the VP-GM post at a handful of stations across the country, including KUTP in Phoenix and WCGV in Milwaukee.

“WPMT has been expanding news, growing ratings and constantly looking for new ways of serving its viewers, advertisers and the community,” Furlong said in a press release. “There is a lot of opportunity to build on this very solid foundation—-I am looking forward to leading this talented group of broadcasters.”

5 Things You Need to Know This Week: Marriage, Michele, and Movies

In this week’s episode of “5 Things You Need to Know This Week,” we challenge Michele Bachmann to a staring contest, take a journey through the t-shirt of Novak Djokovic’s dad, and uncover the history behind the annual Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest.

You can also watch this video on YouTube.

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