Thursday, February 02, 2006

Channel 3 Gets Some Action

Memo to KXVO anchor Calvert Collins: If you want to see how to attract younger viewers, drop the big wig and have someone bring you a tape of what they're doing at KMTV.

Moving at a break-neck pace, "Action 3 News" debuted Wednesday night, running viewers through its 35-minute newscast at what seemed to be at least twice the speed of WOWT's "Ten at 10." In terms of sheer quantity of stories, Action 3 must've run at least one-and-a-half times as many as either the Big Six or Newswatch 7. It was as if everyone on the set was hopped up on caffeine.

A first-time viewer, however, might have come away with the impression that the station has only three reporters. The opening story, "breaking news" about a train hitting a pedestrian near Oakview Mall, featured a live report by Michelle Bandur. Five minutes (and about 14 stories) later, after Joe Jordan had delivered another installment of his ongoing investigation into possibly diseased human tissue that made it from New York to Omaha, viewers saw another Bandur story—this one about efforts to revitalize the look of the Benson neighborhood. And Mary Nelson was out on the street showing us something or other. With all the "Action," though, you'd think they'd have all hands on deck for the premiere.

The set matches the pace: it's nothing if not busy. It is, as we were told yesterday, considerably more contemporary than anything else in the market. Meteorologist Ryan McPike's weather station (is it still a lab?) appears loaded with gizmos, and the opposite side of the set—from which Travis Justice (a.k.a. "The Big Tool") delivered his "Big Take" on sports—looks equally technified.

The anchor desk looks not altogether different from the old one, but behind Greg Peterson and Deb Ward appears to feature monitors flashing frenetically behind a pane of frosted glass. It's not entirely different from what appears behind Channel 6's big anchor desk, but it's somewhat more convincing.

The lighting is somewhat improved, although it's hard to escape the feeling that they could still use some more wattage in the place. In some cases, however, more light may not be a good thing. For Ward, the new scheme highlighted a few more wrinkles than she might have liked. Those might not have been as noticeable, though, due to the fact that she seemed to be trying to make her eyes about twice as open as they usually are. Think Lucille Ball doing her "surprised" take. As one alert reader asked this morning, "What the hell is wrong with Deb's eyes?!?!?! Is she wearing red contacts? Or possessed?"

Finally, if we could describe the graphics in one word, it would be this: Red. Departing from the soothing blue-leaning graphics that it has relied on for some time now, Action 3 News is all decorated in red—a color that extends, you'll see—clear out to its website. Like everything else, the graphics are busy and include what another alert reader calls a "spinning draedle" that sports the Action 3 News logo in the lower right hand corner.

Action 3 News isn't perfect. We're not even sure we like it; we felt pretty overwhelmed before they even got around to The Tool. But the new approach is a much-needed shot-in-the-arm for a station—and a market—that's been stuck in a rut for too long. Kudos to KMTV for trying something different and for showing KXVO how to launch a new format.


joeygrisgris said...

As bad as you think other reporters are, nothing could top what Farah Fazal(?) did last night in reporting the train accident by Oak View. Besides mentioning that the "police is here", that "police are usually called to the scene of a death" and that the "United Pacific" (4 times) train was was brilliant. Lord....where do they get these people.

omatvwatcher said...

Give KXVO some time, the word is that is just a temporary set.

Ted Brockman said...

That'll work out well, since they're affiliated with a temporary network.

AvidOmahaNewsViewer said...

Action 3 News in one word: flashy! Now they need to work on the following:

1) More reporters. Michelle, Mary and Joe can't carry one newscast alone. Not much "action" in that!
2) Perhaps another ten o'clock news title instead of "LIVE AT 10." WOWT uses the "Live at..." all day long. I am so sick of stations using "live" in any part of their vernacular. This is 2006...every newscast is live (except some portions of CNN, CNN Headline News, FOX News Channel, MSNBC, and the monumentally atrocious NEWS on 1.)
3) has the look...but needs to be updated much more often. As of the submission of this comment, they STILL have the exact same headlines as they did last night at 7pm when I first logged on to check it out. Even now (9:50am 2/2/2006), they do not have the story about the fatal train accident that occurred more than 12 hours ago. In fact, I have to give Channel Sucks' site,, kudos for being first to post that breaking news last night. Too bad they can't be so prompt on TV.
3) Visually, the weathercast was a little washed out. They still use the same graphics as KM3 did. Those spinning suns in the 7-day scare me!
4) The morning show is so incredibly in need of a revamp. When you wake up to watch Mary and CT, you beg for a medically induced coma. And they repeat the same five stories every half hour. Oh, and, pray for a memory blackout "on the 3's!

In general, Action 3 News (not Action News 3, as some continually comment) has the look. Now they need substance. Otherwise, they're just a more ambitious version of Channel Sucks News. And if KMTV doesn't revive their six o'clock news soon, this revamping was a waste of Journal Broadcasting's time and money.

Tóózy said...

Without a newscast at 6pm, Channel Third is really not in the game. By the time a person makes it home from work, and is able to sit down to watch the evening news (children to be fed, pets walked, threatening letters from attorneys perused), Third has none. Not everybody gets off work prior to 4:30 to be able to watch the news at 5. They seriously need a 6 or 6:30 newscast to bookend primetime and not appear to be a hobby operation.

I would recommend the 6:30 time slot. No competition, and it would allow comparison to the other channels. Happily, it would also allow some of us to avoid the "Brad/Angelina; Pink or Stink" stories on those contemptible celebrity of the moment confabs.

OmahaRadioHead said...

I really like it. The "big market" feel is a long time coming in this town. I am really impressed.

Hosh said...

I felt like everything was sped through, not saying that's necessarily a bad thing. It's like they are boxers during a round. You expect trainers to come out during commercial breaks and give Deb and Greg a towel and a sponge. I hate to judge it on just last night, but we'll see. It was funny to see how busy the Action 3 set was and then flip over to the KXVO set that they got out of a Cracker Jack Box.

UNMCStudent said...

Have the look? Wha? I couldn't stop laughing when I saw the "new and improved" set/graphics that looks like a cross somewhere between a Fox News Channel set and a retarded child. And the "Action News Threat Tracker" for I know they used the Threat Tracker monkier before the Action News switch...but now it sounds even cheesier. Now all they need is a new"Action News DEATH WATCH '06" with sweet guitar solo for background music.

rivercity_jack said...

I like everything about the change except for the name. C'mon, Action News still makes me think of Gary Kerr & Byron Wood era WOWT and also Brian Fantana from Anchorman. Oh well, i hope everything works out well for mean Channel 3 KM3....NO..I meant Action News 3....D*MN IT!! ACTION 3 NEWS!! THERE I FINALLY GOT IT RIGHT.!!

Shelly said...

I think it is fantastic! I'm so thankful that I don't have to watch the longest stories on earth drag by anymore! If I wanted to see that, I'd watch 6.

I'm now considering changing the channel from 7 to 3. Now, if only they'd get a few male reporters back on - and this time make them better looking.

unlstu said...

You could cross the Action 3 News with Jacim's cheesy arm cross, the Ejacu-weather team with Trav's opinion-full sorta sportscast, throw in a Suzanne Deyo/Laura Liggett/Farrah Fazal cross and we've got a sequel to Anchorman!
Maybe we should call it...Anchorman 2: It's German for "Omaha: A Shitty News Market!"

photofarm said...

I watched Action 3 News or Action News 3, whatever they call it Thursday night at 10 pm. The first three stories should be used in Journalism school on how to piss off your audience. The very first story about the robbers of the Pawn Shop in Benson could very well be the worst news story produced in the entire country. To feature this shows that editors and producers at 3 don't have a clue.

No doubt about it, KMTV is in the second floor basement for news in the Omaha Market. They might as well quit the news game for 6 months and start with all new people. I'll never watch KMTV again, the content is too pathetic.

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