He's attempting to do something similar on the broadcasting level. On October 15, Channel 2's Chris Parente and Channel 31's Chris Tomer were sent to separate ski areas to report about the beginning of the ski season – and both appeared on each station with their distinctive company logos on display. "That may seem confusing," Leonard admits, "but we were able to provide more coverage this morning than if we would have been independent of each other – and we think we'll be able to do even more of that in the future. Instead of having two news teams arriving at a wreck on I-25 to cover the same fatality, we can send one there and send another to cover a different news event."

Of course, the positive aspects of combining forces are offset by a sizable negative: The vast majority of Channel 2's news programming runs opposite Channel 31 shows. So why fund Channel 2's news operation at all? In Leonard's view, keeping Channel 2 in the news game helps to maintain its brand, not to mention its venerable place in Denver television history. "We're not going to desecrate Channel 2," he promises. "But we're going to investigate our options, so that we don't have a lot of areas of head-to-head competition." Hence, he's deep-sixing Channel 2's weeknightly 5:30 p.m. newscast and potentially moving its late update from its current 9 p.m. slot, where it's regularly beaten by Channel 31, to the unlikely time of 7 p.m. – a tack recently taken by KPLR-TV, a CW station in St. Louis. The CW agreed to move the start of its programming from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. to accommodate this approach.

In contrast, Leonard is keeping Channel 2's morning block, which was reassuring news for anchor Tom Green. "I thought we'd been doing well enough in the ratings that they'd want to keep us," he says. Even so, he concedes that everyone at Channel 2 has had difficulty seeing so many colleagues receiving pink slips, and he's hopeful that at least some of them will be hired permanently in the new year after they prove their value. "They've been working so hard no matter what card they were dealt," he says. Thanks to their dedication, he feels the transition has gone more smoothly than he'd anticipated.

Dennis Leonard wants channels 2 and 31 to play nice.
Dennis Leonard wants channels 2 and 31 to play nice.

That's music to Leonard's ears. "It's been great fun to watch folks from Channel 2 come over to see where their office is going to be, what the facility looks like," he says, a salesman's smile on his face. "I think this is going to be a great boost for everyone once the trepidation and the uncertainty have ended."

And once no one else needs to be fired...

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