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Ch.4 planning to debut 4 p.m. newscast by end of March

Get ready for News 4 at 4.

WIVB-TV News Director Scott Levy has confirmed that the CBS affiliate is planning to start a 4 p.m. newscast by the end of March.

According to sources, Channel 4 originally was hoping to premiere the newscast on the Monday after Sunday’s Super Bowl but the station isn’t ready to do that. There is no start date yet.

Levy said the station is looking for an anchor for the newscast, which will replace “Inside Edition” and “Jeopardy” in the time slot and compete with the popular talk show “Ellen” on Channel 2.

The addition of a 4 p.m. newscast wouldn’t be unusual if Buffalo was a larger TV market. But filling 90 minutes of news from 5 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. can be a daily problem here, which is one reason that 30-minute newscasts are typically filled with three or four weather segments that pretty much say the same thing.

When the 4 p.m. newscast begins, Channel 4 will have two and a half hours of news time to fill in the late afternoon and early evening, a tall order for a market Buffalo’s size.

So it would be natural to expect a lot of weather reports.

“We felt there was an opportunity to expand the News 4 brand,” wrote Levy. “Research shows Western New York has some of the highest news viewership in the nation. Our growth at 4:30 a.m. and 10 p.m. demonstrate that desire for more news.”

Actually, ratings for the 10 p.m. newscast on WNLO-TV decline significantly for the half hour that begins at 10:30 p.m.

The expansion at 4 p.m. doesn’t come without some risk. It could dilute the station’s ratings at 5 p.m. However, it gives the station much more local commercial time to fill as well.


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