SAN DIEGO — KNSD-TV (Channel 39) will fill its 4 p.m. weekday time slot with a new hourlong news program anchored by Allison Ross and Gene Cubbison, the station announced Tuesday.
The new program will probably debut in early October, station general manager Neil Derrough said.
Channel 39 currently airs at the syndicated talk show "Cristina" at 4 p.m., which was formally the home of the failed "Ross/Hedgecock Report," a combination talk show and news program hosted by Ross and Roger Hedgecock. When "Ross/Hedgecock" was canceled earlier this year, Derrough vowed that the slot would be filled with some sort of local programming.
The 4-5 p.m. slot is considered a key time period for local stations, serving as a lead-in to the 5 p.m. newscast and the station's other early evening programs. Locally, the time slot is currently dominated by the "Oprah Winfrey" on KGTV (Channel 10). In the most recent ratings, Arbitron showed Oprah earning a 10 rating and 35 share compared to a one rating and three share for "Cristina."
"Cristina" likely will be moved to another time slot, Derrough said.
The new program will be a traditional news show, not a talk show or a so-called "light" news show, Derrough said.
"We're not going to put a show on, we're really expanding our news service," Derrough said.
Steve Corman, who currently heads the station's monthly town hall program, "Third Thursday," will serve as senior producer of the new program. Weekend weatherman Joe Lizura will do weather for the new show, and other staffers will be hired, Derrough said.
The station will continue to do news programs at 5, 6 and 11 p.m. anchored by Marty Levin and Denise Yamada, Derrough said.
Although the new program will feature hard news in a traditional format, news director Irv Kass said the hour-long format would allow for longer segments and interviews. In addition, lighter elements, such as syndicated stories by Dr. Dean Edell and health features, will be added to the new program.
"We are also going to be very cognizant of the audience at that hour," Kass said.