Reality TV invades the newsroom


Bikini model and former WWE wrestler Lauren Jones was scheduled to make her news anchoring debut last evening on Max Media's KYTX-TV (Ch. 19, CBS) Tyler, TX. The broadcast was also being recorded, along with lots of behind the scenes activity, for "Anchorwoman," a reality TV show set to debut August 21st on Fox. That means that in Tyler, it will air not on KYTX, but on rival KFXK (Ch. 51), owned by White Knight.

Make no mistake about it, this is a stunt and GM Phil Hurley is willing to take some heat for it, if it will help boost ratings in a market long dominated by its lone heritage VHF, Raycom's KLTV-TV (Ch. 7, ABC). KYTX is even running an online contest for a viewer to win dinner with Jones, portrayed not in a conservative anchor suit, but in tight jeans and a split top that exposes her navel.

Fox is playing up the newsroom politics and hoping the series will have some fireworks. "The entire newsroom thinks the boss has made a giant mistake. Reigning anchor Annalisa Petraglia is not about to lose her Queen Bee status to some LA hottie. News Director Dan Delgado is fit to be tied as his beloved journalistic standards go out the window. Michelle Reese, a hard-nosed reporter bound for CNN, will take no prisoners. Lauren has a big job in front of her as she struggles with her news team and an unfamiliar town," the network said in its pitch for the show.

"Anchorwoman" is produced by Fox 21 and The G Group. Brian Gadinsky is the creator and serves as executive producer. Joshua Bingham serves as co-executive producer with Chad Damiani and J.P. Lavin serving as supervising producers. 

SmartMedia observation: How dare they put a model on the air doing news? We sought comment from one forecaster on the station's weather team, who is pictured prominently on the KYTX website as a member of the news staff, but "Stormy" the dog was apparently out for his walk.