Thursday, April 27, 2006

Nancarrow Iraq special

Little reminder: KKTV/Channel 11 David Nancarrow's special report on his trip to Iraq will air at 7 p.m. Saturday. The hour-long special will recap his month with the 4th ID and 3rd BCT.

Also, Broadcasting & Cable, one of the major industry magazines, did a cool story on how Nancarrow delivered the news from Iraq. Check it out.

Madson's back

Mike Madson, the former meteorologist for KKTV/Channel 11, will begin at KOAA/Channels 5&30 on Monday. He and KOAA weatherman Mike Daniels will do a weekly series dubbed "Mike and Mike on Mondays," in which the pair will explain how the weather works and some of the unique features and challenges to Southern Colorado weather.

"We’re just so pleased to have him join our team," KOAA president Dave Whitaker said. "With his experience and professionalism, it’s just wonderful to have his abilities augment the already great team we have here."

The series will run during KOAA's 6 p.m. newscast Mondays in May. After that, Whitaker said, Madson will make regular appearances at KOAA. He also teaches fulltime at Pikes Peak Community College and the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs.

Local weather has been hopping lately, with both KOAA and KKTV debuting new Doppler radar weather packages (both use the same data, but it comes through different suppliers and has different features).

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Galactica prequel?

The Sci Fi Channel is apparently exploring making a prequel to its "Battlestar: Galactica" redux, dubbed "Caprica." The new series would be set 50 years before the current show and focus on the Adama family and humanity's creation of the Cylons. Cool.

Some non-TV book TV Talk

How about that? In between talking with readers distressed at the new TV magazine's size, I have managed to watch a little, you know, TV.

Thursday's "Survivor" -- We finally see the alliance break. I think. Whenever CBS sends out "Survivor" screeners, they always cut off the end of the Tribal Council. Those bastards.

Season finale of "How I Met Your Mother" -- The terrific comedy with the horrible name signs off with a typical episode: Several parts brilliant matched with several parts stupid. Nearly the entire cast of "Angel" (the "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" spinoff) makes an appearance, which I got a real kick out of. Proving what a nerd I am.

"Elizabeth" -- Only seen the first part of the HBO miniseries that aired earlier in the week, but really enjoyed it. I'm a fan of the Cate Blanchett "Elizabeth," so it's fun to see a different (and more historically accurate) take on the same material. Helen Mirren doesn't match Blanchett's sly charm as the virgin queen, though.

"Scrubs" -- Not on tape, but live last night. Man that show's had a killer season.

Speaking of which, I was (again) working on the truck last night and so missed the "American Idol" opera week. I hear Daughtry walked away with it. I'll have to watch clips tonight.

And, oh yeah, the "Best of TV Funhouse" that's airing on Saturday. You either love Robert Smigel's cartoons or loathe them, but there's some kickin' satire in this special. And a pretty funny running gag about Jimmy Fallon. Anyway, it's better than a fresh episode of SNL.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

More TV book

We're up to about 300 complaints about the new TV magazine and I'm beginning to get the sense that people don't like change.

Look, I know we're making people learn a different system, but you're getting more listings and more channels for your trouble.

It's a compromise. Because of on-screen guides, fewer and fewer people use printed TV listings. Printing the old, smaller TV magazine cost The Gazette extra, because we couldn't print it on the regular press.

If you're looking for primetime listings, the new section is flat out better, easier and faster. For afternoon listings, it's a little more complicated, but the information is still there (toward the back on page 22). So give it a chance.

We're still tweaking the design and trying to improve the new format, so if there's information or features that you'd like to see, please let us know.

Monday, April 24, 2006

New TV book: Love it? Hate it?

We switched the format for our weekly TV magazine yesterday and this morning, the phones have been ringing off the hook. I understand the importance of the TV mag for a lot of people. It's one of those things that people don't like to change. A few years back, we made the book smaller and readers complained. Now, we've made it bigger. And people are complaining. One caller wanted us to buy her a bigger coffee table to hold the larger size.

My take is that the new design makes more sense and will be easier to use ... once people get over the learning curve. We've got a few bugs to work out ourselves -- notably the "tonight's picks for HDTV," which includes a bunch of ABC and NBC programs that aren't in HD here.

If you have specific complaints, or concrete suggestions on the new design, please let us know.

Friday, April 21, 2006

Scrubs is coming back

NBC just renewed the sitcom for a sixth season. This is a bit of shocker, since the show's creators had pretty much assumed this would be it for their show, and hence felt free to pull out all the stops this season.

I guess they did well by doing good, or something.

Commander In Chief fans can now start praying for a similar turnaround.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Ace is gone and I wasn't there to see it

I was working on my car last night and missed the sweetest Idol moment of the year: Ace Young taking the long walk.That's actually pretty unfair of me, since Ace was clearly not the worst, or even the second-worst, performer this week. But the kid had it coming and I'll revel in the schaudenfreude while it lasts.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

TV Talk response

I'm hearing from a lot of "Commander In Chief" fans. I'm sorry guys, ABC doesn't believe in your show anymore. It's not your fault, it's not the show's fault, it's the network's fault (and I should add that it isn't dead yet, although it ain't looking good).

Also hearing from a few "E-Ring" fans. That one's dead and buried, although not officially. Most of them have switched their allegiance to CBS' "The Unit," which is doing just fine and has already been renewed.

Meanwhile, Monday's story on television indecency continues to draw responses. Almost every parent I've spoken with has complained about commercials. They all say many commercials are in poor taste and that they have no way of monitoring what ads their kids see. That may be worth following up on.

What's a TV station worth these days?

How about $45 million? That's what the News-Press & Gazette paid for KRDO/Channel 13, KJCT in Grand Junction and KRDO (1240 AM), according to documents released by the FCC on Tuesday.

That's actually at the low end of some of the estimates I heard prior to the sale -- you have to figure the Grand Junction station was worth maybe $10 million and throw in a million or two for the radio station, leaving you with perhaps $33 million for KRDO.

When KXRM and KXTU sold last month, the deal was for a dozen stations, so it was hard to put a value just on the locals, although I had heard KXRM was in the $30 million range.

The last local media sale we have specific numbers for was when Superior bought KKCS FM in 2003 for $18 million. Their plan all along was to move that station into the Denver market, so they arguably paid near-Denver prices for it. Walton, the old owner, sold KKCS AM to Salem for $1.5 million (it's now KZNT), which is probably a fair measuring stick for what an AM station in the Springs is worth.

Farewell finales

Today's TV Talk discussed the long running shows that are saying goodbye in March. Got a thought? Leave it here.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Tax day terrors?

Another reporter here, who refused to be identified, said tonight is the night the worst TV reporters in Colorado Springs are on display. His theory is that every station will do Tax Day stories, one of those classic non-stories everybody does (including the Gazette), and news directors will send whoever is in their doghouse to go watch people wait in line at the post office. Not much different from watching paint dry.

You could just as easily turn this around, however. If a reporter produces anything remotely watchable or even a tiny bit interesting out of this dud, he or she is a journalism god.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Kappel's last day at KKTV

KKTV/Channel 11 morning meteorologist Bill Kappel will give his final forecast at noon Friday.

He's leaving to work with a friend providing specialized weather reports for big projects like dams, reservoirs, that sort of thing, so the builders know how much water they have to plan for. Odd, but interesting, line of work. He says he may be back to fill in at KKTV from time to time.

Kappel is also, and this is pretty interesting, going to be the assistant basketball coach for the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs men's team. He was all-conference and honorable mention Division II All America when he played at Mesa State. And he competed in the 1996 Olympics in team handball.

Bucky bites it

Bucky Covington took the long walk last night. Well deserved after another subpar performance.

Nobody really shined this week, though. Do you think the pressure is getting to the singers, or do you think the material is holding them back?

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Big, bad South Park

So the vaunted Muhammad South Park was a major letdown. No, they didn't show a picture of the prophet. No it wasn't particularly funny. No, I don't know what the point was supposed to be. Comedy Central is getting some well-deserved heat for censoring the image, but Trey Parker and Matt Stone gave us a great set up in the first episode and then a lame punchline in the second part.


Kinda interesting to watch how KRDO is reporting on its own sale. At 5:30, they ran a little retrospective by news director Dave Rose (with some weird music underneath) and grabbed some soundbites from Harry Hoth and David Bradley. Actually, not quite at 5:30, they buried it at the end of the newscast.

"We've had a lot of people who wanted to buy this station over the years," Hoth said in the report. "We ran into the Bradley family and their four generations and they're the ones who are going to take this station into the 21st century."

"We think they've built a wonderful station there," Bradley said.

I thought it was a little strange the other stations didn't report the deal (let me know if they did and I missed it), not because of the sale itself, but because the Hoths have such deep roots in this town. That's why we're doing a bigger story on this than we did on KXRM's sale last month.

UPDATE: KOAA did a story at 6 p.m. Short, but covered the essentials.

KRDO press release

April 11, 2006
Pikes Peak Broadcasting Company, a locally-owned family business, today announced the pending sale of KRDO-TV13, Colorado Springs and KJCT-TV8, Grand Junction, and radio station KRDO-AM 1240, Colorado Springs to Missouri-based News-Press & Gazette Company. The television stations are affiliates of the ABC television network. The sale price was not disclosed.
Pikes Peak Broadcasting Chairman Harry W. Hoth noted, "After the sale, KRDO will continue to be operated by a family-owned company solidly committed to local news and dedicated to supporting the communities it serves. Mr. Hoth continued, "I’m proud of KRDO’s long history of involvement in community based programs. I’m especially proud of the support we’ve helped to generate within our communities for our men and women in the military. Hoth continued, "Our family is pleased that the Bradley family of News-Press & Gazette shares our view that local broadcasters have a unique opportunity to have a positive impact on their communities and an obligation to make the most of that opportunity."
News-Press & Gazette President David Bradley commented, "We are extremely excited to enter the Colorado Springs and Grand Junction markets. The Hoth family has built a fine broadcasting legacy that will be our foundation for the future. We intend to honor that legacy and we appreciate the trust placed in us by the Hoth family to continue serving the markets that they have served so well for so long."
News-Press & Gazette Company, a 4th-generation family-run business based in St.Joseph, Missouri, owns television stations in El Paso, Texas; Bend, Oregon; Palm Springs, California; Yuma, Arizona and Idaho Falls, Idaho along with two radio stations in the Palm Springs market. The company also publishes a number of daily and weekly newspapers in Missouri and Kansas and operates local cable television systems in Missouri, Arizona and California.
Under the terms of the agreement between the families, News-Press & Gazette will also assume an existing local management agreement for the operation of KSKX (105.5).
KRDO AM radio began broadcasting in 1947 and KRDO TV signed on in time to telecast the Baseball World Series in 1953. KJCT TV in Grand Junction signed on in 1979.
The transaction is awaiting approval of the Federal Communications Commission and is expected to be completed by mid-summer.
For More Information Contact: Patti L Hoth – (719) 632-1515

KRDO sold!

Local ABC affiliate KRDO/Channel 13 was sold today to the News-Press & Gazette Broadcasting Company. They're out of St. Joseph, Mo., and own the newspaper there and a half-dozen television stations in small markets around the country (Bend, Ore., Yuma, Ariz., El Paso, Texas, Palm Springs, Calif., and Idaho Falls, Idaho). They also own a couple small cable companies and some community newspapers.

The interesting thing is that, like KRDO owner Pikes Peak Broadcasting, NP&G is also family owned. Fourth generation.

Harry Hoth started at KRDO as a salesman when it was nothing but an AM radio station, became general manager and president in 1955, bought the company in 1961 and handed over the day-to-day duties and president title to his daughter Patti Hoth in 1990.

Nancarrow back in the Springs

KKTV/Channel 11's David Nancarrow returned from a month reporting in Iraq last weekend and should be on the air at 10 p.m. today talking about his experience.

The station threw a welcome home party for him last night and Nancarrow appeared to be a little jet lagged, but none the worse for wear. He spent the month embedded with and reporting on the 4th Infantry Division and the 3rd Brigade Combat Team.

KKTV also plans to do an hour-long documentary on Nancarrow's trip, although an air date hasn't been set yet.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Idol thoughts

Interesting choices with the Queen covers. I am not in any way a Taylor Hicks fan, but I really liked his "Crazy Little Thing Called Love." Conversely, I was pretty disappointed by Paris and Elliot's performances. And, while they were both pretty darn silly -- hey, that's Queen -- I thought Kellie and Ace were good.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Real World coming to Denver

MTV announced this morning that "The Real World" will call Denver home for the show's 18th season. It'll start filming in a couple months (Q2 '06 in MTV-speak) and begin airing at the end of the year. The kids will be put up in a remodeled LoDo club.

The announcement raises some obvious questions -- will the thin Colorado air make participants cut their bitch/moan/makeout sessions short? (We hope not). Will the kids be forced to leave the city for ridiculously stereotypical Colorado attractions such as Rocky Mountain National Park and rafting on the Arkansas? (We hope not). How long will it take for one dimwitted participant to wonder why Denver isn't filled with cowboys and mountain men? (One minute, 30 seconds is our over-under).

ABC taking TV online

ABC announced today it would offer four of its most popular shows -- “Lost,” “Commander In Chief,” “Desperate Housewives” and“Alias” -- available gratis on its Web site during May and June.

Network TV has been moving in this direction for the last year or so -- you can plenty of current television on iTunes. And, if the networks can keep the ad dollars when they move the product online, it makes all kinds of sense to switch to an on-demand model.

However, what I'm wondering is what this means for all the affiliates out there (I'm looking at you, KRDO). Their network, their partner, their content provider, is doing everything it can to go behind their backs and deliver content directly (and without any local advertising, naturally). That's got to be disquieting, don't you think?

Internet delivery is not ready for prime time. It's still too slow, the image quality is lacking (especially compared to high definition) and if by some miracle 20 million "Lost" fans actually tried to download the show instead of tuning in on Wednesday, it would crash the servers so fast Einstein would go cross-eyed.

Nevertheless, direct, on-demand content delivery is obviously where things are headed. And so it's not too soon to wonder what it will mean for local broadcasters and content providers (I'm looking in the mirror on that one).

Friday, April 07, 2006

"The 10 Commandments" review

Gazette religion writer Paul Asay weighs in on the new ABC miniseries that begins at 8 p.m. Monday:

Let's face it: Charlton Heston is a hard act to follow.

ABC's "The Ten Commandments," a lavish four-hour miniseries airing April 10-11, features Dougray Scott as the desert-romping, staff-weilding Moses -- a larger-than-life Biblical figure whom Heston made, um, even more famous in the 1956 Cecil B. DeMille epic.

Heston cut such a commanding figure as Moses -- what with his white hair and thundering voice -- that, when his time comes, he'll probably stand in for Moses all the time during heavenly celebrity ribbon-cuttings.

Scott's Moses isn't so much kinder and gentler as just a bit more down-to-earth and conflicted. Heston's immaculate white hair has been replaced with scruffy brown -- appropriate for a guy who lived 3,000 years before the invention of the hair dryer. The new Moses is God's devoted if sometimes grumpy servant. Being the Lord's go-to guy isn't all peaches and cream, and several times Scott struggles with God's sometimes harsh judgement calls. You get the sense that, all things being equal, he'd like to stop leading all those Hebrews through the desert and settle down in the

The miniseries cost a reported $23 million to make and features a spectacular computer-generated parting of the Red Sea and the talents of several well-known actors. Omar Sharif of "Lawrence of Arabia" shows up as Moses' father-in-law, Jethro, and "Lost's" Naveen Andrews is a well-meaning but ultimately doomed Egyptian general. Ironically, Andrews and Sharif are the only folks who look like they would've grown up in Egypt. Most other characters, including Scott, are European transplants -- a move that I think hurts the authenticity of the film.

Still, the miniseries presents a compelling look at the fertile crescent of 3,000 years ago and adheres to the biblical book of Exodus, um, religiously. Sure, it adds a few elements here and there, and there's a curious scene at the end where Moses appears to carve a second set of commandments himself. But overall, the miniseries treats Moses' story with reverence and doesn't shy away from some of Exodus' more troubling, bloody episodes. At one point, while Moses is off talking with God about the commandments, the Hebrews start worshipping a golden calf. The miniseries deals with the aftermath of that idolic move -- the death of 3,000 people, according to Exodus.

Overall, the miniseries is a well-crafted look at Exodus -- far more historically realistic and Biblically true than the 1956 version. Will it serve as inspiration to the faithful? An Old Testament "The Passion of the Christ?" Sorry, no. But if you're interested in seeing a Moses who acts more like you and me than Charlton Heston, it's worth your time.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Best "Survivor" episode ever?

Man, that was right up there with Susan Hawk losing it in season one and Johnny Fairplay throwing out the fake dead grandma -- but this was purer, because the drama came out of the game mechanics instead of player histrionics.

They certainly had me going, with the smirks and the half-smiles from Austin and Terry at tribal council. And how did Danielle pass up the immunity idol (or was it Bruce that bailed)? And if they knew Danielle didn't flip, should Terry have given Austin the idol? (Wait, no, because if they can't get the numbers, Terry needs as little competition for individual immunity as possible every week).

Somebody made a huge miscalculation here. Actually, I think both Bruce and Danielle may have chosen poorly. That idol was a massive bargaining chip and this was the only time it'll be up for grabs (of course, Terry should have played it last week).

I was barely paying attention to this season, but now I'm hooked... for at least one more week.

UPDATE: Alan Sepinwall has a much better strategic analysis than anything I've come up with.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Colbert on Katie

"You're my morning flower! Don't leave me with Matt Lauer."


Also, "Well, I'll always have 'The View.'"

Wednesday recap

Man, Mandissa? That's just wrong. I mean, Elliot did worse Tuesday night (and Paris did worse yet) and -- HELLO -- Ace is still on the show? There is no justice in the world -- or maybe there was something seriously wrong with the voting last night. Like that's never happened before.

Also, "Lost." I liked this episode. It felt like a real shout-out to the fans by getting into the whole meta story/is this Purgatory/it's all a dream. Good stuff for once.

Weigh in on Katie

The news today is all Katie, all the time.

I actually like Couric fine and think she'll do fine at CBS, but it's 11:30 and I'm already sick of the story. It's a half hour five times a week, not the second coming, you know?

Not that anything short of the second coming will stop the hype machine. If you've thoughts on the move, post away.

Whither Eric and Melissa?

If you followed the saga of KKTV remaking its news staff back by parting ways with Eric Singer, Melissa Brown and Mike Madson, check out tomorrow's Life section for an update on what our favorite former anchors are up to. Eric's dipping his toe in politics again and Melissa... well let's just say, if you don't already know, you will never in a million years guess.

How's that for a tease?

Check the comments

Check the comments on that "annoying TV news" post from a couple days ago -- some pretty good ones. Feel free to add your own grumbles, too.

Monday, April 03, 2006

What do you find most annoying about your TV news?

Got a call from Jim a little while ago. He wanted to complain about the music -- he described it as "techno," which is as good as anything -- that KKTV plays under its national news update during the 4:30 news. Jim thought it was distracting and inappropriate for the more serious stories.

Which had me thinking, there's something about local TV news that drives each of us crazy, albeit probably not the same thing. Sure, we keep watching, but if Lisa Lyden would just do this, or Jon Karroll would just do that, our viewing experience would be immesureably improved.

So what leetle tiny thing would you change about our local news if you had the power?

Weekend update

I went to Clear Channel GM Bob Gourley's retirement party on Friday (had a story in biz on Friday, too).

I know most people don't care too much who's running the show as long as they get the music they want, but Gourley was something of an institution aftear a dozen years at KKCS and a half-dozen more at Clear Channel (KVUU, KCCY, KKLI and KIBT). I think he was the first local media guy I met after I took the job here.

The party was pretty interesting, too, a who's who of local TV and radio people. Didn't see anyone from Citadel, Clear Channel's big competitor, though.

Tomorrow's TV Talk will be an update on KOAA's progress toward broadcasting in high definition. Short version: June. Slightly longer: More delays, antenna and electrical work push the date to June. Longer yet: Read the paper.