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KIAH Set To Launch Anchorless Newscast

NewsFix will debut on Tribune’s Houston CW affiliate this Saturday at 5 and 9 p.m.

The long-awaited anchorless newscast, which tosses out the way local news has always been done, will launch this Saturday on Tribune Broadcasting’s KIAH in Houston.

Under full-blown development since September, the one-hour format, called NewsFix, will air at 5 and 9 p.m. seven days a week, says KIAH General Manager Roger Bare.

In addition to being anchorless, NewsFix will make other dramatic departures from traditional newscasts, Bare says.  Although some special segments, like local crime and music history, will be hosted by “experts” in the subjects, the bulk of the newscast will be narrated in voice-over style by one individual, the radio personality Greg Onofrio, who goes by the nickname “Greg-O,” Bare says.
The newscasts also will highlight visuals, like graphics and camerawork more often associated with feature film cinematography than newscasts, he says.

Story line-up will be different too, he says. Rather than stack up stories in order of, say, geography or subject, each segment of the newscast between commercials will include a local, national, international and feature story.

Weather and sports news won’t be tied to a specific time or format either, meaning it could be minimal if there aren’t bigger stories out there worth telling — or stand on their own if they are particularly noteworthy, Bare says. Teasers are being nixed as well.

Bare, however, insists the newscasts’ style does not usurp content, adding that a host of senior-level news pros are working on the project. In fact, doing away with anchors — and all the banter that comes with them — actually increases the time that will be filled with news, he says.

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“It’s serious news,” he says. “We’re just trying to throw away all conventions.”

Overseen by Gary Jaffe, the show’s executive producer and “imaginator,” NewsFix is the brainchild of Lee Abrams, who conceived the anchorless newscast before he was forced to resign as Tribune’s chief innovation officer last October after sending a companywide e-mail that some employees found offensive.


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