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Clocking out: "First Five Minutes" no longer in play on CBS11's 10 p.m. newscasts

Several informed sources at CBS11 confirm that the station has dropped the "First Five Minutes" segment from its 10 p.m. newscasts.

The order came from president and general manager Steve Mauldin, who also reportedly wants a more balanced approach with less emphasis on crime and tragedy. Mauldin met with news director Regent Ducas on Monday to express his displeasure with both the content and the ratings of the 10 p.m. newscast.

Ducas, hired by Mauldin, arrived from Kansas City's CBS station in late March with a mandate to improve CBS11's late night news ratings. He quickly deployed the same "First Five Minutes" tack that he had used at his previous station.

"Instead of taking a more issue-oriented approach to news, we're going to take a more topical approach," Ducas said in an April interview with unclebarky.com. "It's all about the here and now of news. That's one of the changes you'll feel, sense and hear on the air. A bit more urgency. Not so much the way it's been."

But Ducas' self-described "run and gun" approach hasn't triggered any ratings revivals. It has, however, caused significant unrest in the CBS11 newsroom.

Tuesday's 10 p.m. CBS11 newscast, shorn of the "First Five Minutes" gambit, improved slightly on its 9:45 to 10 p.m. lead-in from an NCIS repeat to finish second in the total homes Nielsens behind Belo8. That might be only coincidental. But it's certainly a rare occurrence at CBS11, where generous network lead-ins usually are squandered rather than built on.

Mauldin's decision to undo some of Ducas' changes could have further repercussions as the station prepares for both a new season and a conversion to HD on Sept. 24th. It's going to be an interesting work environment for at least the short-term future.