KTLA presently broadcasts a total of 56 hours of locally-produced newscasts each week (with nine hours on weekdays, four hours on Saturdays and seven hours on Sundays); in regards to the number of hours devoted to news programming, it is the largest local newscast output among Los Angeles' broadcast television stations, beating Fox-owned KTTV's weekly news total by 9½ hours and that station's weekday news total by a half-hour. It is also the second-highest weekly newscast output among Tribune Broadcasting's television stations, falling behind Indianapolis Fox affiliate WXIN by four hours.
For many years, Channel 5's news department was considered the benchmark of Los Angeles television. Its evening news program was often serious and no-nonsense in nature and has received many awards and distinctions. However, KTLA's newscasts have become more tabloid-based in nature in recent years, perhaps to compete with KTTV. Both stations have rivaled each other in ratings for many years. As part of the change, KTLA has placed more emphasis in entertainment news, and has featured personalities such as Mindy Burbano Stearns, Zorianna Kitt, Ross King and most recently Jessica Holmes as entertainment reporters. Although KTLA does not cover police pursuits as much as other stations, it has put more emphasis in local crime stories, as opposed to politics, health and other serious news. KTLA has also created synergy between Tribune Company entities. For example, entertainment reporter Sam Rubin is often seen on WGN-TV in Chicago. Los Angeles Times columnist Dave Lazarus also frequently reports on consumer stories from the paper's headquarters in Downtown Los Angeles.
KTLA news anchors Hal Fishman, Larry McCormick, and George Putnam have become icons in Los Angeles television news over the years. Its veteran field reporters have included Stan Chambers (who had been with the station since after its inception in 1947 until his retirement in 2010) and Warren Wilson. Stu Nahan, Keith Olbermann and Ed Arnold (who now anchors KOCE-TV's Real Orange) were formerly the sports anchors. Accompanying his news anchoring career, McCormick also hosted KTLA's own public affairs production called Making It!, which featured stories on the entrepreneurial successes of ethnic minorities. The station briefly ran a noon newscast during the mid-1990s, that was anchored by Marta Waller.
During the 1970s, KTLA operated a well-equipped helicopter known as the "Telecopter" for its news operations (having debuted in 1958); the Telecopter was the most advanced airborne television broadcast device of its time, but was ultimately sold to another Los Angeles station, KNBC, which flew the Telecopter with pilot Francis Gary Powers and cameraman George Spears until its fatal crash on August 1, 1977. In 2004, KTLA debuted a segment on its morning newscast titled "The Audition", in which several actors and actresses competed for a role as weathercaster on its 10 p.m. newscast. Ross King was the winner in the first installment, followed by Jessica Holmes as the winner of the second installment (Holmes now serves as co-anchor of the 9 a.m. hour of the KTLA Morning News).
On January 13, 2007, KTLA began broadcasting its local newscasts in high definition, becoming the second Los Angeles television station to do so (after KABC-TV). On July 30, 2007, Hal Fishman anchored what would be his final broadcast for KTLA. Following several days of hospitalization for a liver infection, Fishman died on August 7, 2007. KTLA's newscasts that morning and evening were dedicated to Fishman, for whom the station dedicated its news studio in 2000. After Fishman's passing, KTLA installed longtime Morning Show co-host Carlos Amezcua as the interim co-anchor on Prime News. Local media speculated that Amezcua would be given the assignment permanently, but on September 4, Amezcua announced he would be leaving KTLA to take over as co-anchor of KTTV's 10 p.m. newscast, replacing John Beard. Morning news co-anchor Emmett Miller took over as interim evening anchor, and on December 4 was named as Fishman's permanent replacement.
In February 2008, KTLA reversed a rebranding of its morning newscasts that originally took place with the 2005 brand refresh. The First Edition and Early Edition were retitled as the KTLA Morning News @ 5, KTLA Morning News @ 6, respectively, while the 7-10 a.m. KTLA Morning Show reverted back to its original title as the KTLA Morning News for the 7-9 a.m. portion and was changed to the KTLA Morning News @ 9 for the 9 a.m. hour of the newscast.
After former KCBS/KCAL general manager Don Corsini was appointed as KTLA's president and general manager in January 2009, the station's local news programming underwent a major expansion during that year. First on January 19, KTLA soft-launched a nightly half-hour 6:30 p.m. newscast, (becoming Southern California's first local television newscast in that timeslot since the mid-1990s when KCAL-TV and KCBS-TV aired newscasts during this time period prior to CBS 2002 acquisition of KCAL). Then on April 1 of that year, the KTLA Morning News was expanded by a half-hour to start at 4:30 a.m., while an hour-long midday newscast at 1 p.m. also debuted. On April 4, 2009, KTLA expanded the weekend edition of the 6:30 p.m. newscast to a full hour starting at 6 p.m., with the weekday edition of the newscast following suit that September (resulting in the region's first television station to air an hour-long 6 p.m. newscast since the mid-1990s, when KCBS-TV aired an hour-long 6 p.m. newscast that was shortened to 30 minutes in 1999). In October 2009, KTLA unveiled a new set, a graphics package created by Hothaus Creative Design, and custom music package composed by 615 Music.
In April 2011, KTLA added a weekend morning newscast, currently airing on Saturdays from 5-7 a.m. (originally starting at 6 a.m. until September 2012, and airs in the early timeslot on Saturdays due to The CW's Vortexx animation block), and on Sundays from 6-9 a.m. This made KTLA Tribune's fourth station with a morning newscast on weekends (fellow CW affiliate WGN-TV/Chicago, and Fox affiliates WXIN/Indianapolis and WTIC-TV/Hartford are the others). In August 2011, KTLA added a two-hour expanded primetime newscast titled the KTLA 5 Sunday Edition from 8-10 p.m. on Sunday evenings. On February 2, 2012, KTLA expanded the weekday edition of the KTLA Morning News to begin at 4 a.m.
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