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Thursday, September 06, 2018

NewsFix and morning dose cancelled by Tribune

Sharron Melton returns to Houston TV on CW 39 KIAH

NewsFix officially signs off, plus remembering the old 39 News

NewsFix and morning dose will no longer air on KIAH CW39 Houston and KDAF CW33 DFW

According to an internal email obtained by, Tribune Media is cancelling NewsFix and its syndicated show morning.dose.

However, we learn from the memo that a new three-hour local morning newscast will launch this fall on CW39 KIAH.

No word on how Houston morning anchor Maggie Flecknoe or NewsFix voiceover/commentator Greg "Grego" Onofrio will be incorporated into the station's new plans.

Apparently the shows will stop production next Friday.

Here is the memo:

I want to take a moment this morning to make you aware of some strategic decisions we have made regarding newscasts in several of our markets. First, some context—while broadcasting delivered strong financial results in the second quarter, to continue being successful, we need to be constantly looking for new growth opportunities and finding new ways of improving our existing businesses. We must be nimble, innovative, and, where it makes sense to do so, be willing to re-think some of our strategies.

It is with these things in mind that we have made the decision to discontinue production of Morning Dose, News Fix in Houston and Dallas, and the late newscast at WDCW in Washington, D.C. Unfortunately, despite the best efforts of a lot of talented employees, these shows haven’t delivered the ratings or the revenue we hoped for when they were launched. The decision to discontinue any show is never easy and we don’t do it lightly. We understand that these decisions affect the lives of good people who gave their best efforts to achieve success; we hope to give many of them the opportunity to transition to new roles elsewhere in our station group.

Taking these steps will enable us to reallocate the resources devoted to these shows to other areas of our broadcasting business, including the further expansion of local news in several markets. This fall we will add a new three-hour local morning newscast at KIAH in Houston and expand PHL Morning News from 90-minutes to three hours at WPHL in Philadelphia. Mornings are a time-period where we have seen growth, and by shifting resources we believe we can better serve our local audiences.

Tribune continues to make strategic investments. We’re also devoting significant capital to improve the infrastructure at many of our stations and their newsrooms. As Peter mentioned, we’ll be building a new set/studio at WDAF in Kansas City, and in Arkansas, we recently broke ground on a state-of-the-art facility for KFSM and KXNW. KFOR’s new stormproof building in Oklahoma City is now complete and nine of our newsrooms kicked off substantial capital improvements in infrastructure, sets and building renovation this year.

We need to work to make these investments pay dividends for our viewers and advertisers, and ultimately for the company. This year, our broadcast group will produce roughly 84,000 hours of local news across our station group. In the last 5 years, we have expanded our news hours by 34 percent, more than any other station group in the U.S. Of our 27 news producing markets with full news operations, 21 of our stations are ranked #1 or #2 in the market among adults aged 25 to 54. Many markets have reached new rating milestones in 2018 through ratings growth and expansion. Finally, Tribune Media continues to be the #1 broadcast group online and one of the top-20 providers of online news in America. Our strength in local news has allowed our sales departments to drive significant share growth in political advertising, helping to offset the softness in the overall core market.

Peter has challenged us to find growth opportunities and improve our businesses while we navigate the current industry trends. To date we can all be proud of our collective performance, and for that I am grateful. As we close out Q3, let’s continue to play offense, focus on innovation and redirect our thinking to find opportunities that make our company better every day. I thank you for your hard work and dedication to your stations and to Tribune Broadcasting.

Larry Wert

Back in 2010, Tribune announced it was reinventing news with the NewsFix format and chose KIAH CW39 to be the start of its news revolution. The idea then moved to KDAF CW33 in Dallas-Fort Worth.

"I remember being told in the beginning that NewsFix wouldn't last six months," NewsFix contributor and Houston Chronicle reporter Craig Hlavaty told "We made it seven years. In terms of longevity in a city like Houston that's massive. I am floored thinking about the amount of creatives that worked on that news show over the years. My weekly segment opened up an immeasurable amount of doors for me personally, creatively, and professionally. It's hard to quantify the impact it had on my life, suffice to say it changed my life forever."

"There were a lot of firsts," Hlavaty added. "I think I was the first TV reporter to tattoo himself on camera, get thrown in a pool by Lou Ferrigno, nearly get punched by Mike Tyson, get an IV full of vitamins, and interview the lead singer of GWAR. Through my segment I wrapped my arms around the city of Houston and points beyond and I will never let go, ever. That love affair with the city translates daily into my work as a Houston Chronicle staffer."

Just last summer, Tribune re-branded its Dallas-based morning show Eye Opener, as morning dose (yes they keep it all lowercase).

At the time of its re-launch morning dose aired in these six Tribune markets: KDAF/Dallas, KIAH/Houston, WPHL/Philadelphia, WDCW/Washington DC, WSFL/Miami and KRCW/Portland, OR.

As you have probably read in the news, Tribune tried to sell its stations to the Sinclair Broadcast Group. That did not work out. Just yesterday, a new report surfaced Tribune is attempting to sell again.

NewsFix officially signs off, plus remembering the old 39 News

UPDATE SEPT. 11, 2018
According to the Houston Business Journal, Tribune Broadcasting will cut 120 jobs in Houston and Dallas as a result of recently canceled shows.

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