- The Washington Times - Monday, May 27, 2002

ABC affiliate WJLA-TV (Channel 7) hopes to conclude its search this summer for a co-anchor for Maureen Bunyan on its late local newscast, which finished the May ratings derby in a disappointing third place.
The station is considering several candidates for the job, including Ren Scott, an investigative reporter and weekend anchor for CBS affiliate KYW-TV (Channel 3) in Philadelphia. WJLA wants to fill the anchor chair by fall, according to persons with knowledge of the search.
Most of the candidates are anchors from outside the Washington area, the sources say.
WJLA management declined comment.
During the 28-day ratings sweep that concluded May 22, WJLA's late news drew an average 102,144 households each night. Competing newscasts on NBC affiliate WRC-TV (Channel 4) and CBS affiliate WUSA-TV (Channel 9) drew an average 159,600 and 121,296 households, respectively.
Finding a co-anchor for Miss Bunyan is the next step in WJLA's long-range plan to boost ratings.
The first step was hiring Miss Bunyan, a former WUSA anchor, in 1999. The following year, WJLA lured chief meteorologist Doug Hill from WUSA and invested more than $1 million in a sophisticated forecasting system for the weather department.
WJLA is also planning to merge with local cable news network NewsChannel 8 in August, creating the largest local TV news operation in the Washington area. It is expected to have about 185 employees, or roughly 65 more than most big-city TV newsrooms.
Miss Bunyan anchored WJLA's late news alone until September 11, when she was joined by Kathleen Matthews, the station's popular afternoon anchorwoman. From the beginning, the pairing has been seen as temporary.
WJLA, owned by Allbritton Communications, has considered several candidates for the job, including former "Good Morning America" news reader Antonio Mora, who tested poorly with focus groups, and CNN anchor Leon Harris.
WJLA has taken its time with the search because it wants to find someone who will have the right chemistry with Miss Bunyan, one of Washington's most respected TV anchors.
One newsroom staffer hopes the station will lure "a marquee name" from another Washington station.
"Newcomers don't have a great track record in this market. You need someone viewers already know," the staffer says.
Mr. Scott is believed to be a serious contender for the job. He could not be reached for comment.
Mr. Scott is perhaps best known as the featured reporter on KYW's "Shame on You" consumer affairs segment. He joined the station in 1996 after six years at WCBS-TV (Channel 2) in New York, where he won two Emmys for investigative reporting.

Swept away
Speaking of May sweeps, it was another good month for WRC, which won its 13th consecutive sweep in the local news-ratings war.
It was also a good month for WB affiliate WBDC-TV (Channel 50), which, for the first time, drew more households on average than UPN affiliate WDCA-TV (Channel 20).
Here's a look at how the stations did in some of the key weekday ratings races. Each ratings point represents 21,280 local households, and a share is the percentage of viewers tuned in at that time.
From 5 to 7 a.m.: Local news on WRC led with a 2.9 rating and a 14 share, down from a 3.9/20 last May. Second was WUSA's news at 2.3/12 (up from a 1.6/9), followed by WJLA's news at 2.1/11 (1.9/10). From 5:30 to 7 a.m., WTTG's news scored a 2.1/9 (1.7/8).
From 7 to 9 a.m.: "Today" on WRC led with a 4.8/18 (5.3/19), followed by "Fox Morning News" on WTTG at 3.3/12 (3.4/12), "Good Morning America" on WJLA at 2.7/10 (3.3/12) and "The Early Show" on WUSA at 2.1/8 (2/7).
From 9 to 10 a.m.: The third hour of "Today" on WRC led with a 3.2/13 (3.7/15), followed by "Live with Regis & Kelly" on WJLA at 2.9/12 (3.3/13), "Maury" on WTTG at 2.6/11 (3.4/13) and local news on WUSA at 1.9/8 (1.6/7).
From 10 to 11 a.m.: "Hollywood Squares" and "Family Feud" on WJLA led with a 2.7/12 (2.9/14), followed by "Divorce Court" on WTTG at 2.6/12 (2.7/12), local news on WRC at 2.3/10 (3/14) and "The Lucy Show" and "Cheers" on WUSA at 1/4 (down from a 1.3/6 for "Sally" last May).
From noon to 12:30 p.m.: Local news on WUSA led with a 5.2/21 (5.6/23), followed by WTTG's news at 2.1/8 (2/8) and "Inside Edition" on WJLA at 1.9/8 (1.9/8). WRC's "The Ananda Lewis Show" scored a 1.1/4 from noon to 1 p.m. (down from a 1.5/6 for "Queen Latifah" last May.)
From 4 to 5 p.m.: "The Oprah Winfrey Show" on WJLA led with a 4.1/12 (4.6/13), followed by local news on WRC at 4/12 (4.3/12), "Montel" on WUSA at 2.9/9 (3.2/9) and "Divorce Court" and "Texas Justice" on WTTG at 1.9/6 (up from a 1.6/5 for cartoons in last May.)
From 5 to 6 p.m.: "Judge Judy" on WTTG led with a 5.1/13 (5.1/13), followed by local news on WJLA at 4.2/11 (4.4/11), WRC's news at 5.5/14 (5.4/14) and WUSA's news at 3.8/10 (3.4/9).
From 6 to 6:30 p.m.: Local news on WUSA scored a 4.9/11 (4.9/11), followed by "The Simpsons" on WTTG at 5.5/12 (4.7/11) and WJLA's news at 4.4/10 (5.4/12). From 6 to 7 p.m., WRC's news scored an 8.1/18 (7.1/16).
From 6:30 to 7 p.m.: "The Simpsons" on WTTG scored a 5.9/12 (4.8/10), followed by "ABC News World Tonight" on WJLA at 5.7/12 (7.2/15) and "CBS Evening News" on WUSA at 5.3/11 (4.9/10).
From 7 to 7:30 p.m.: "NBC Nightly News" on WRC led with an 8.8/17 (8.2/17), followed by "Wheel of Fortune" on WJLA at 6.5/13 (6.5/13), "Friends" on WTTG at 6.2/12 (5.7/12), "Weakest Link" on WUSA at 3/6 (down from a 4.3/9 for "To Tell the Truth" last year), "The Steve Harvey Show" on WBDC at 2.6/5 (up from a 1.4/3 for "In the House" last year) and "Everybody Loves Raymond" on WDCA at 1.9/4 (flat from a 1.9/4 for "Frasier" last year.)
From 7:30 to 8 p.m.: "Jeopardy" on WJLA led with a 7.4/14 (7.9/15), followed by "Seinfeld" on WTTG at 6.2/12 (5.5/10), "Access Hollywood" on WRC at 5.5/10 (6.2/12), "Entertainment Tonight" on WUSA at 4.7/9 (5.5/11), "The Steve Harvey Show" on WBDC at 3.1/6 (up from a 1.4/3 for "Cosby" last year) and "Everybody Loves Raymond" on WDCA at 2.6/5 (up from a 2.1/4 for "Frasier" last year).
Late news: Local news on WRC at 11 p.m. led with a 7.5/16 (8.2/18), followed WUSA's news at 5.7/12 (5.7/12) and WJLA's news at 4.8/10 (5.4/12). At 10 p.m., WTTG's news scored a 6.6/11 (6.5/11).

This just in
Country music station WMZQ (98.7 FM) will replace its longtime morning duo, Gary Murphy and Jessica Cash, with Phoenix DJs Ben Campbell and Brian Egan July 1. Mr. Murphy and Ms. Cash will become the new morning team for oldies station WBIG (100.3 FM), replacing Dave Adler. Clear Channel Communications owns both stations.

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