Some quick impressions of the Eyewitness News' new look.
Loved the graphics. And the set, while somewhat of a shock at first, is growing on me already.The granite-and-desert tones at KSL are certainly a major shift for the station. The old look, with some minor changes, dates back to the Social Hall Avenue days.
The new set is about twice the size of the old one, and - when used from the proper angle - looks it. At other times, particularly head-on shots of the anchors, it can look almost claustrophobic.
It's a question of taking advantage of what they have, and a few bugs need to be worked out.
Included among those bugs were some rather odd geometric shapes that sometimes appeared to be sprouting from the anchors' and/or reporters' heads and some serious shadows when Mark Eubank did the weather.
Also, undoubtedly, it will take viewers a while to grow accustomed to the changes. But give it all a while to sink in - the look is indeed a big improvement.
The graphics were an immediate success. The opening is classy, and the black-on-yellow identifying subtitles were great.
Here too, however, there are some bugs. That digital clock used in the upper portion of the screen during a live remote is not only annoying but proved to be somewhat of a problem on later newscasts when replaying a live report from the noon newscast.
And while the problem was taken care of during the broadcast, it didn't add anything to Robert Walz's live report from Southern California to have that clock covering up his forehead.
As Bruce Lindsay correctly pointed out during the set's maiden voyage, none of these cosmetic changes have anything to do with the content of the news.
While news purists may cringe, the fact is that the style of delivery is as important to most viewers as is content. Probably more.
And KSL has definitely upgraded that style.
NO `SECOND CHANCES': Because of the BYU basketball game, KSL-Ch. 5 won't be airing "Second Chances" tonight.
Unfortunately, local viewers won't be able to see this week's episode at all.
It's the result of a combination of factors, which were largely out of KSL's control once the decision was made to broadcast the basketball game. (And the point must be made that that contract was signed long before "Second Chances" was even scheduled.)
CBS won't allow KSL to air "Chances" any ol' time it wants. And the network insists that, in the case of such a pre-emption, the show get a good time slot.
(That rules out during the day on either Saturday or Sunday, options KSL was willing to consider.)
In past years with "Knots Landing," KSL aired the pre-empted episode the same night at 10:35 after the news. That's no longer possible because CBS won't allow KSL to bump the "Late Show with David Letterman" back to accommodate that and won't allow "Second Chances" to air after Letterman at 12:05 a.m. The same goes for Friday night.
On Saturday, KSL is already airing "Picket Fences" at 11 p.m. And Ch. 5 can't air "Second Chances" in "Fences' " usual time slot - Fridays at 9 p.m. - because the network won't allow an affiliate to pre-empt network programming with other network programming.
That also rules out earlier in the evening tonight and causes problems on Sunday night as well with the CBS News at 11 p.m.
The end result is that "Second Chances" won't be seen locally. And that's a shame because it's a good show - and one the folks at KSL support.
"I think it's the best show they've had in the time slot for a long time," said David Manookin, KSL vice president of pro-gramming.
What makes this particularly unfortunate is that "Second Chances" is a serial, meaning that fans of the show will miss out on some of the action - and the introduction of a major new character, played by John Schneider.
But we'll take some space in this column next week to update you on what you've missed.
LET'S HOPE: Perhaps KUTV's recent hiring of a pair of former KSL staffers - Janice Evans as executive producer and Con Psarras as managing editor - signals that Ch. 2 is going to start taking news seriously again.
Which is not to say that the KUTV news staffers haven't taken it seriously, but they certainly haven't gotten much support from the station's management.
BEAMING BACK: Good news, Trekkers. With Fox temporarily giving up on late-night programming, KSTU-Ch. 13 will return "Star Trek: The Next Generation" to weeknights at 10 p.m. as of Monday, Jan. 31.
It will be followed by "Cheers" at 11 p.m.; "Married . . . With Children" at 11:30 p.m.; "A Current Affair" at midnight; paid programming at 12:30 a.m.; and "Arsenio" at 1 a.m.