Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Tribune Says It Will “blow-up” The TV Playbook

Tribune Broadcasting declared that it is “taking the lead in the reinvention of local television,” announcing that it will “blow-up” the traditional TV playbook.

The first phase includes restructuring the creative service functions at its television stations and appointing two regional vice presidents for innovation and imagination.

John Zeigler, formerly director/creative services for WPIX-TV in New York, will lead the eastern region; Carrie King, previously director/creative services for WGN America, will lead the central region. The regional vice president position for the western division remains open and a search is ongoing. It will be filled soon by someone who “gets it as much as Zeigler and King do,” the company said.

“Incremental change at our television stations won’t get it done,” said Lee Abrams, Tribune’s chief innovation officer. “We have to be radically and noticeably different — we have to imagine TV and TV news in a totally new way, one that breaks through and reinvents the decades old, tired TV playbook,” he declared.

What will change? Zeigler and King will establish and implement dramatically new creative standards and promotional emphasis for the television stations within their respective regions. They’re charged with driving a look, feel and sound reflecting the highest levels of creative reinvention both on the air and on the street, inspiring and motivating stations to take risks and execute in 21st Century terms, the company said in announcing that “The TV revolution is underway at the new Tribune.”

“This opportunity was meant for John and Carrie and they earned it. They have demonstrated a clear and passionate understanding of our new and very different vision and have consistently executed and delivered on it. They are essential to developing a new style of television and leading our stations into the future,” said Jerry Kersting, president of Tribune Broadcasting.

The eastern division includes Hartford, Harrisburg, New York, Philadelphia, South Florida and Washington, DC. The central division is made up of Chicago, Dallas, Grand Rapids, Indianapolis, Houston and New Orleans, and also includes WGN America.

TRIBUNE is one of the country's leading multimedia companies, operating businesses in publishing, interactive and broadcasting. In publishing, Tribune's leading daily newspapers include the Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, The Baltimore Sun, Sun Sentinel (South Florida), Orlando Sentinel, Hartford Courant, The Morning Call and Daily Press. The company's broadcasting group operates 23 television stations, WGN America on national cable and Chicago's WGN-AM. Popular news and information websites complement Tribune's print and broadcast properties and extend the company's nationwide audience. At Tribune we take what we do seriously and with a great deal of pride. We also value the creative spirit and nurture a corporate culture that doesn't take itself too seriously.

SOURCE Tribune Company

Broadcast Union News: The last time Tribune said they were going to "blow up the traditional TV playbook", they changed the WPIX logo from red to blue. If Tribune is investing all the financial resources that remain after paying $70 million dollars in executive bonuses in consolidating their transmission facilities; automating their newsrooms, reducing the number of creative people generating ideas from nine people to one; getting all the news footage from LNS, so their content is pretty much identical what is airing on every other station; and eliminating as many people as possible to reduce operating costs; there aren't going to be enough people nor resources left to reinvent anything. -BD

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