As noted in a blog published earlier today, Martino TV, the pay-for-play show hosted by Tom Martino, debuted this morning on both Channel 31 and Channel 2 -- and another new program, Everyday, bows this afternoon at 4 p.m., with Natalie Tysdal and Fox 31 anchor Libby Weaver as co-hosts. Tysdal recently earned a Best of Denver award as the market's top female anchor, in part because the ratings produced by her excellent chemistry with Channel 2's Tom Green on that station's morning show, now known as Daybreak on the Deuce, helped save the outlet's entire news department. By breaking up the Green-Tysdal team, and by tinkering with the role played on Daybreak by former weather forecaster Angie Austin, the signals are taking more risks of the sort that have become commonplace since executive Dennis Leonard took over the now-combined operation.
An interview request made to Leonard, who memorably responded to questions about the Deuce's fecal-sounding nickname by declaring, "It's the shit, dude!," was passed to Carolyn Kane, who since February has served as the vice president of content at the two stations. Kane provides interesting explanations for the moves, in addition to revealing a change in Martino's status that will at last lessen the ethical conflicts he's flaunted since launching various entrepreneurial websites many years ago.
Kane initially describes Everyday in the most basic and generic manner; she calls it "a talk show for people who are home at four o'clock." She adds that it will be aimed at "a predominately female audience, with a lot of topics about moms and kids. There'll be a little news and information, but it will definitely be geared toward the topics of family, lifestyle and health" -- hence the participation of Dr. John Torres, who regularly appears on Channel 31's morning show, Good Day Colorado. Localism will be emphasized, she notes. "We'll focus on things that are happening in Denver, as opposed to a show like Regis and Kelly, where they talk about national things and what's in the New York Post. And it won't be all light and fluffy. It'll be about real things that real people have to deal with every single, solitary day."
In Kane's view, handing the Everyday co-hosting duties to Tysdal made perfect sense. "The content and topics were right up Natalie's wheelhouse," she says. "When I mentioned I was going to start it, she was excited and seemed like a natural." She also thinks Green will do just fine in the morning with another co-host. Right now, he's teaming with Melissa Mollet, and while no final decision has been made about making this pairing permanent, Kane stresses that Mollet "is doing a fine job."
Austin, for her part, returned from maternity leave to a different job. She'd previously helmed the weather segments (she, too, is a past Best of Denver award winner, both for forecasting and her fabulous coiffure), with entertainment-oriented spots thrown in. Now, Jason Boyer is the fulltime weatherman, while Austin continues to offer entertainment news in a reduced role.
According to Kane, the decisions related to Austin and Boyer predated her arrival at the stations, but it's her understanding that it was dictated by his background: "The idea was for all of our people doing weather to be meterologists, and he's got a degree." That doesn't mean Austin's contributions aren't appreciated, though. "If you're going to count minutes, she's not on as much as she used to be," Kane concedes, "but I do feel she's an integral part of the show."
And Martino? Kane says the self-proclaimed "Troubleshooter" will no longer be putting together reports for Channel 31 newscasts. Martino always claimed not to be a journalist, but by appearing in that role, he created the appearance of impropriety, since he regularly charged businesses to receive an endorsement on his website -- and he's doing so again on Martino TV, which Kane likens to other infomercial-style hours on the area airwaves, including Channel 9's Colorado & Company. When asked if this change in status had been made in part because of a perceived conflict of interest or other ethical concerns, she said, "I believe so."
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If that's true, it's about time.
Few local TV stations -- even one that's become a two-headed monster -- launch two new hours of homegrown programming on a single day. But Kane, who prior to her arrival in Denver ran a San Francisco production company specializing in infotainment, feels that upping the amount of self-generated content is an absolute must. "I believe if you're a TV network and you're not producing locally, what are you doing?" she declares.
And is more local programming on the way? Kane says nothing is imminent, but "we'll see..."
Clearly, the folks now running channels 2 and 31 believe that change is good.