A tweet last week from Jana Shortal, co-anchor of KARE 11’s nascent “Breaking the News,” sure sounded like a plea.
“The thing is this. You want news. I want to bring it. But we aren’t connecting. Tell me how we can. Let’s think tank.”
To me that reads like a ratings-related lamentation.
“Just asking for opinions,” Shortal told me Friday.
When I asked what the ratings were for the show with co-anchor Rena Sarigianopoulos, Shortal said, “I don’t look at them.”
“Breaking the News” debuted Jan 11. The first night’s numbers were good, but since then the numbers have been slipping. Even in decline, BTN appears to be beating the KSTP-TV news airing from 6:30-7 p.m. Maybe that’s enough?
One problem might be my fault. When I wrote about the show in development, I noted that Shortal’s style was once laconic. On Twitter, Shortal seemed to take exception to being called laconic. She was anything but the first night of BTN.
That’s not just my opinion. E-mailer Rich wrote something similar:
“I watched the program ‘Breaking the News’ on Jan. 12 and felt compelled for the FIRST time to comment on any program I have viewed on KARE 11. I started watching it with interest thinking, ‘Oh, this may be interesting and informative.’ After watching for about 10 minutes I thought, ‘WHERE in the world did you find Jana Shortal?!!’ She is loud, arrogant, over demonstrative, seems to take over control of the talking.’ ”
I could tell that Rich is a big Sarigianopoulos fan, but he made cogent observations: “Rena seems to be more conservative and professional; enjoyable to watch.”
I just think Shortal was nervous those first few shows and hyper on others. Her gesticulating has calmed and Sarigianopoulos gets to talk.
Their styles are very different — one’s refined and the other brash. Sometimes that works.
Another broadcast insider suggested that this showcase might have been a play to keep Sarigianopoulos happy. She was a longtime weekend anchor who has won regional Emmys and, more impressively, one of those national Edward R. Murrow awards.
Sarigianopoulos and Shortal explore interesting hot topics. The photography for featured stories is spectacular and cutting-edge, but jumpy. I could do without the social media stuff — one of the show’s staples — because reading tweets is in no way “Breaking the News.”
The station is to be applauded for trying something new. We may have a better sense of how it’s doing with viewers after the February sweeps, although beating WCCO-TV’s “Wheel of Fortune” is a tall order.
No-show for Panther shirt
Charlie, eldest son of Fox 9 anchor Kelcey Carlson, has not lifted the embargo on the photo showing him in a Panthers jersey with the Super Bowl 50 team’s named spelled incorrectly.
When his dad, KOOL 108 radio personality Dave Kent, took the photo of Charlie, 8, in his homemade jersey, the kid told his parents they were not to post the photo on social media! I’ve seen the photo and it’s adorable. I told his dad to give me the photo anyhow; I’m sure Charlie’s not a reader.
“No. He would pack his bags and find a new family,” said Kent. “He loves the Panthers. He brags about them at school,” said his dad, who is pleased that Charlie has not been the object of hostility at school for this. “It’s the whole politeness about sports around here,” said Kent. “They let him be a Panthers fan.” The Panthers were the first NFL team Charlie saw in person, back when his mom was an anchor in North Carolina.
Charlie’s likely to remain a fan, even if QB fashion-setter Cam Newton is prancing around in high-water, zebra-print pants that everybody thinks are cool because they are Versace.
“This is the year for the Panthers,” said Kent, who predicts, “It is going to be 35-14. What do you say?”
If the Broncos don’t dominate from the start, I could see the Panthers trying to hang 50 despite this probably being classy Peyton Manning’s last NFL game.
C.J. can be reached at email@example.com and seen on Fox 9’s “Jason Show.” E-mailers, please state a subject; “Hello” does not count. Attachments are not opened.