NewsFix Soldiers On Despite Low Initial Ratings

“It’s very polarizing,” Gary Jaffe, the “imaginer” who directs the new anchorless newscast on Houston’s KIAH, told the Houston Chronicle. “People seem to really like it or really dislike it.”

For its first 10 shows, the 9pm newscast averaged a .5 Nielsen rating, or a tenth of what top competitor KTRK got on a recent show.

The show seems to have launched mainly on attitude, Chronicle reporter David Barron said. “The attitude is born of adrenaline, optimism and several weeks of rehearsal prior to the anchorless newscast’s March 19 debut, not to mention the bunker mentality of people who know that dozens of their camera-hogging colleagues at other stations are likely rooting for them to fail miserably….Less than two weeks into its twice-daily existence, NewsFix remains mostly attitude and most definitely a work in progress.” On the positive side, the first ten shows averaged 33 stories per hour, including 15 “more or less” local stories per show. On the negative side, most stories are features or “second-day” news.

Okay, so maybe not what ousted Tribune Co. exec Lee Abrams had in mind, but the thing is less than two weeks old. Give it a chance.

Besides Jaffe, the staffers who have been hired or retained to give this thing a shot include (but are not limited to):

  • Gregory “Grego” Onofrio, a former radio host who serves as narrator for each news segment.
  • Steve Mark, formerly a sportscaster, now the managing editor of NewsFix.
  • Steve Simon, formerly the prime-time anchor for KIAH now hosting a daily segment called “Simon Says” as well as helping Onofrio and Mark compile the show.
  • And Harris County Constable Victor Trevino, who isn’t getting paid so isn’t really an “employee” will deliver the crime report. Controversial!