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KDKA plans head start with 4 p.m. news

Friday, May 31, 2002

By Barbara Vancheri, Post-Gazette Staff Writer

KDKA-TV is pushing the boundaries of news by planning a 4 p.m. weekday newscast. That would give the CBS affiliate an hour's jump on its competition -- and a local replacement for Rosie O'Donnell's talk show, which has stopped production.

Although 4 p.m. newscasts are common in other parts of the country, particularly larger markets such as Denver and Washington, D.C., this will be Pittsburgh's first foray into the early-evening hour.

"The appetite for local news in Pittsburgh is insatiable, and this is an opportunity for us to give late-afternoon viewers an early start to the evening headlines," General Manager Gary Cozen said in a press release issued yesterday by the station.

KDKA has not said who will anchor the new report or when it will start.

It's been eight years since KDKA expanded into the 5 p.m. hour with "KD Live at 5," a fluffy, feature-oriented show that fared poorly in the ratings and evolved into a conventional newscast. With the 4 p.m. report, the station will have a three-hour block of local news before switching over to CBS's Dan Rather at 7 p.m.

In the most recent May sweeps, WTAE led at 6 a.m., WPXI was first at 5 and 11 p.m., and KDKA was on top at 6 p.m. and a competitive second in late-night news.

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