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Fox4's new Good Day Sunday gives Adrian Arambulo an anchor shot amid surrounding shot clocks

Adrian Arambulo anchors Fox4's new Sunday morning news show. Photos: Ed Bark

Fronted by Fox4's cutest male news personality but hijacked by a quartet of opinion-spewing "4 Minutes" segments, the Dallas-based station's new Sunday morning Good Day edition is off to a rather odd start.

Adrian Arambulo, who joined Fox4 in June 2007, got his first permanent anchor spot as a sweetener in his new contract. He capably helmed the traditional hard news portions of the 6 to 8 a.m. show, with much of the second hour's content a replication of the first. The Fox network's Fox News Sunday immediately followed, moving up an hour from its longstanding 9 a.m. slot.

The oddities during Sunday's premiere were four taped "4 Minutes" features in which anchor Heather Hays solicited viewpoints from shirt-sleeved reporters Shaun Rabb, Richard Ray and Matt Grubs. They weren't kidding about the time limit. Floor director Larry Walker barked out time alerts -- "Two minutes! Two minutes remaining! Two minutes!" -- before climactically stepping into the camera shot like a referee counting out a boxer in reverse.

"5-4-3-2-1," he said at the end of the last "4 Minutes," which was devoted to Thursday's tragic death of a Brownwood firefighter at Rangers Ballpark. "Time's up! Stop!"

Um, whose idea was this? Not the segments themselves, but the ham-fisted notion of yelling out how much time is left rather than simply showing a silent countdown clock in a screen corner.

Even better, why not just let these things play out? One segment might last 3 minutes, 45 seconds and another 4 minutes, 15 seconds. Instead floor director Larry just barged into the picture and cut off Hays in mid-sentence during a bat-around on Gov. Rick Perry's decision to let the state execute a Mexican national for raping and murdering a 16-year-old-girl. At issue: had Texas violated international law?

Anchors and reporters offering up their opinions is hardly a novelty anymore. In fact it's becoming more and more the norm. On this website, your friendly content provider both reports on TV news of the day and reviews a wide variety of network/local news or entertainment programs. Fox4, owned and operated by Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation, is under the same orders as other local news properties. In short, the mandate of the moment is to get anchors and reporters "more involved" in the stories they cover.

This sometimes even includes admitting errors, as when Ray said that he shared the blame for showing the firefighter's fall to his death "too many times" Thursday night before the footage was re-edited.

In the execution segment, Rabb said that Perry's boldness makes him "the kind of man that many people would like to see . . ." His voice then trailed off, apparently halted by an internal caution light that stopped Rabb short of his finishing touch. Namely, adding the words "run for president."

The four of them also jabbered, in two other segments, about Casey Anthony's acquittal on charges she murdered her two-year-old daughter and Roy Williams' rejected mail-in wedding proposal, in which he included a $76,000 engagement ring.

Floor director Larry Walker tells all to shut their opinion holes.

One topic of course proved to be too hot for "4 Minutes." Arambulo dutifully reported Sunday's shutdown of the United Kingdom's News of the World after the newspaper became immersed in a far-flung wiretapping scandal. Arambulo also responsibly noted that the tabloid was "owned by News Corporation, the parent company of Fox4." But that's as far as it went. Hays, Rabb, Ray and Grubs weren't about to stick their noses in that stinker. Had that by some miracle happened, floor director Larry might have immediately jumped in to shout, "Your 2 seconds are up! We ain't gonna have none of that stuff!"

Ratings from Nielsen Media Research were pretty good news for the second hour of Good Day Sunday. The 6 to 7 a.m. portion had a measly 13,851 D-FW viewers. But the audience swelled to 69,257 for the 7 to 8 a.m. hour, good enough to tie NBC's competing Sunday Today. And Fox4 won both hours outright among advertiser-craved 18-to-49-year-olds.

Arambulo, who regularly shared his anchor desk with weathercaster Ron Jackson, probably would like to become a bigger presence on Good Day Sunday. He could easily accomplish that by becoming the ringmaster of those "4 Minutes" segments. As for floor director Larry, well, Fox4 would be wise to declare an end to his 5-4-3-2-1 seconds of fame. Go with a silent clock. And if you must, perhaps sound a buzzer to end these things.

NEWS NOTE: Former CBS11 anchor/reporter Nerissa Knight, dropped by the station in December of last year, reported Saturday night on Dallas-based CW33's 9 p.m. newscast. Her topic was the fire that disrupted Rihanna's Friday night concert at the American Airlines Concert.

"I'm just freelancing," Knight said in an email response to unclebarky.com. It was her first appearance on a CW33 newscast. Her in-market non-compete clause expired in June, enabling Knight to look for new TV news opportunities in D-FW.