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Q&A: Dec. 7

Question: I was watching, or at best trying to watch the Channel 21 newscast the other night, and it's terrible. Do they have any viewers? Do you think this experiment of "prime time" news will last?
Mike Peacock

Answer: The TXA 21 news from 7 to 9 p.m. averaged a 1.1 rating (26,180) homes in November, its first ratings "sweeps" period. That at least was good enough to beat the two competing MyNetworkTV soaps, Desire and Fashion House, watched in just 16,660 homes. I've been told they need to do just a 1.0 rating to turn a profit, so we'll see.

As for content, the newscast is pretty much at the level of a Double A minor league baseball team right now, sort of like the Frisco Roughriders vis a vis the Texas Rangers. I don't think it's terrible, but much improvement is needed. The music bridging segments is way overdone. It reminds me of the old Channel 11 newscasts under anchor Cameron Harper. So do the time teases, such as promising a story on "Desk Rage" at 7:41 or something.

TXA 21's young, very eager anchors aren't quite ready for prime-time, in the sense of moving up to the CBS11 major league team. On Thursday night, they were almost in awe of a visit by CBS11 sports anchor Babe Laufenberg. But give them time. They're getting the opportunity to train on a very big stage -- the No. 6 market in the country. Right now the newscast is still using training wheels, and it shows.