- The Washington Times - Wednesday, January 29, 2003

Some folks at WJLA-TV (Channel 7) are grumbling that ABC fumbled an opportunity to deliver a big audience to the late local news on Sunday, which followed the most-watched Super Bowl in five years.
This was the first time since 2000 that third-place ABC has aired the game.
WJLA which has had trouble attracting eyeballs to its newscasts since the network's prime-time fortunes took a dive two seasons ago figured many viewers would stick around after the Super Bowl and a special episode of "Alias" for the late news.
The station pulled out all the stops for the post-game newscast, hoping viewers who don't typically watch the show would sample it and come back for more.
Weeknight stars Maureen Bunyan and Doug McKelway came in to anchor the program. Popular afternoon anchor Kathleen Matthews prepared a sweeps-worthy report on a new surveillance system to detect bioterrorism.
The station even had chief meteorologist Doug Hill who was vacationing in New Orleans deliver the weather from the Big Easy via a live remote.
So what happened?
The game ended at about 10:15 p.m., but ABC's post-game show which inexplicably included a Jon Bon Jovi concert dragged on for more than 40 minutes. "Alias" didn't begin until after 11 p.m., which meant Ms. Bunyan and company didn't hit the airwaves until after midnight.
According to Nielsen Media Research Inc., about 956,610 Washington area households tuned into the Super Bowl on WJLA. By the time the news aired, the number of households watching the station had dwindled to 130,150.
Even the late news on NBC affiliate WRC-TV (Channel 4) which aired at 11 p.m. after a "Law & Order" repeat captured 166,590 households.
WJLA management could not be reached yesterday. The station already has a prickly relationship with ABC, given its decision to pre-empt the network's new "Jimmy Kimmel Live" late-night show.
We bet this latest incident doesn't help.
Snyder departs WUSA
Catherine Snyder, senior executive producer at WUSA-TV (Channel 9), is leaving Feb. 7 to become senior producer of CNBC's revamped "Capital Report" newscast.
"I have mixed emotions. I've enjoyed my stay at Channel 9, but this is a wonderful opportunity," Ms. Snyder said.
She said she has a sentimental attachment to WUSA because her late father, legendary news director Jim Snyder, ran the station's newsroom during its golden years in the 1960s and 1970s. Mr. Snyder hired many of WUSA's enduring luminaries, including Gordon Peterson, J.C. Hayward and Bruce Johnson.
"I used to come to the old Channel 9 [building] when I was a kid. A lot of the people here have known me since I was in grade school," said Ms. Snyder, whose first tenure at WUSA was as a news producer from 1990 to 1997.
News director David Roberts, a Jim Snyder protege, brought Ms. Snyder aboard as his second-in-command in January 2001. According to the chattering around the Broadcast House water cooler, morning news chief Susan Truitt is a candidate for the senior executive producer gig.
In a memo circulated to staffers yesterday, Mr. Roberts said Ms. Snyder will be "sorely missed and difficult to replace."
"Capital Report" is CNBC's only Washington-based program. Earlier this month, the network lured Gloria Borger from CBS to host the show.

Questions? Comments? Tips? Call Chris Baker at 202/636-3139 or send an e-mail to cbaker@washingtontimes.com.


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