WPIX Throws Hat Into the Ring With 5 p.m. News

Using their new and improved late-afternoon lineup lead-in as its impetus, WPIX is taking a crack at a 5 p.m. newscast. PIX News at Ten anchor Jodi Applegate, once again, helms the one-hour broadcast on her own. Irv “Mr. G” Gikofsky handles the weather.

Beginning this week, immediately preceding the 5 p.m. news, Anderson Cooper debuted his new daytime show on WPIX.

Starting next week, Dr. Drew’s (Pinsky) Lifechangers takes hold of the 3 p.m. slot with a pair of episodes.

“[That] made it an …opportunity to reenter the afternoon news,” WPIX news director Bill Carey tells FishbowlNY.

But, WPIX, which started the 5 p.m. news Monday from the newsroom, joins a jammed field–the most crowded in New York history.

Along with the standard newscasts by WCBS, WNYW, WABC, in recent weeks WNBC made a shift back to news at 5.

“I would argue that the other stations are so similar to each other in content and style that we’re going to keep talking away and trying to be an alternative,” Carey admits.

Carey says two-thirds of viewers watching during that hour are women, which means Channel 11, as the upstart news choice, must offer something unique.

For example, in the first segment, Carey says WPIX will focus on one or possibly two stories for several minutes, with reporters providing different angles.

“If you want the headlines in a traditional newscast, you’ve got four choices,” Carey says. “We can’t see value in being a fifth choice.

Instead, Carey, who made a splash with his big changes at 10 p.m., is ready to do it again.

“People will come to know us as the big story at the top of the show,”  Carey says.

With that unorthodox opening, the more familiar use of headlines, including live reports, is saved for the bottom of the hour–complete with the 11 icons on the bottom of the screen a la WPIX’s 10 p.m newscast.

“At 5:30, when stations don’t have a full summary or headlines of the day, that’s where we’re going to do that,”  Carey says.

At the top of the broadcast, Applegate is sitting, a position she is rarely seen in at 10 p.m.

“We’re trying to create a different show, using elements from the 10 [p.m.],” Carey says.

Carey, who doesn’t have a timetable for success at 5 p.m, is already proud of the effort.

“Entering into this [with] …four competitors that we’re up against, we’re making a good effort after two days,” Carey says.