Thursday, June 30, 2011

Shock

SuxNews has found someone to sit next to loud lithper Jimmy Siedlecki.

The amazing thing is that she appears to be neither the cloying cheerleader/spokesmodel that her predecessor, Malorie "Maltard" Maddox, was/is, nor the limp dishrag that Ann McIntire and her lifeless clones (e.g., LeAnne Mormann and Brianna Long, and Chase Moffitt) have proven to be. 

As long as she's okay with Jimmy stepping all over her lines and weighing in with his fatuous observations every 37 seconds, she'll be perfectly happy in her new gig. If SuxNews has shown us anything, it's that talent can be stifled if surrounded by enough pathetic hacks.

Check out the story (from the Lincoln Journal-Star) here.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Stormy

• Would someone please tell KETV's chief weatherguesser, Bill Randby, that "gustnado" is not a word and that even if it were a word, it would not be appropriate to say 36 times is a two-minute span?

• Rather than burden its reporters by making them go out and collect footage of Monday evening's storm, WOWT filled its 10 p.m. broadcast with a bungled live remote from the CWS (people ran to the Qwest Center!) and pictures from viewers—many of which, anchor John J-Pa Knicely noted, were described as "scary." Say what you will about him, the man is an artist with words.

Thursday, June 02, 2011

Final?

Will Thursday evening's broadcasts be Tracy Madden's last on SuxNews?

When news of her departure seeped out last month, her final day on-air was said to be June 3rd. But since the station's main anchors no longer appear on Fridays, it seems that Thursday could mark her final newscast.

Whether it's Thursday or Friday, Madden's departure hasn't drawn anything close to the hyper-hyped orgy of schmaltz that accompanied the "retirement" of her predecessor, Pat Persaud, in 2005.

Even the morning show departure of Madden's successor, Maltard Maddox, has been relatively subdued, at least by SuxNews standards.

Co-anchor Jimmy Siedlecki presented the giggly blond (who's been sporting a new helmet-y looking 'do, apparently in anticipation of her ascent) with a cake featuring a giant Channel Sux logo, while meteorologist Rusty Lord handed her a couple of small energy drink bottles that looked like he'd grabbed them at a convenience store on the way to work this morning.

It was as touching a moment as could be expected between two shallow co-anchors who haven't once in five-plus years on the program displayed a single genuine emotion about anything, unless you count self-satisfaction as a genuine emotion.

Given Maddox's tendency to look like a love-struck cheerleader trying to impress the quarterback while working with Siedlecki, we shudder to imagine how sickening her performance will be when she's next to the even-more-clueless John Knicely, who has made a career of merely resembling an anchor.

Meanwhile, looking more and more like a combatant poised to stomp on the throat of a weakened opponent, KETV isn't wasting any time in trying to capitalize on the fact that Madden's departure leaves SuxNews bankrupt when it comes to news talent.

Exhibit A: Channel 7 is promoting a new anchor lineup for its weeknight newscasts, with Melissa Fry and Adrian Whitsett assuming duties at 5 p.m., while Rob McCartney and Brandi Petersen retain their slots at 6 and 10 p.m. The promo we've seen stresses the local roots of the four anchors, underscoring the shocking inability of its rivals to cultivate a similarly strong stable of personalities from within the market.

Thank god at least one local station has an owner willing to invest in at least appearing to develop a competent, credible news organization. We can only hope that other stations eventually fall into such hands.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Explosion

For a station that can't seem to stop talking about its social networking prowess, SuxNews has brought an avalanche of Facebook hate-posts upon itself by canceling its "Fairytale Wedding" contest, just minutes before it was due to announce the results.

An alert reader reports:
So they cancelled the Fairytale wedding contest! Thanks to those who voted for my friends in the Omaha, Neb, fairytale wedding contest. They were legitimately winning, and with about 30 minutes remaining, the news director of the Faiytale wedding contest pulled the plug and posted this: WOWT noticed what appear to be patterns that are inconsistent with a normal vote in the Fairytale Wedding contest. We called in our IT professionals who confirmed our suspicions. We tried to solve the problem by using a third party app, but found concerns with that as well. Understandably, many of our loyal WOWT fans have expressed concerns about the integrity of the contest. We understand their frustration and have decided to pull the contest completely. We feel that at this point, there is no way to award the prize fairly. We want to thank everyone who participated and feel terrible that what was meant to be a fun contest has ended this way. We would like to do this contest again and are looking into other programs that offer a more restricted access. We will not run any future contests using the “like” button on the WOWT Facebook page. - Amy Adams, WOWT News Director What a scam!! There was cheating going on, but I don't agree with how it was handled. Outright cancelling the contest is not a solution. Their facebook page is exploding with hatemail right about now... I'm so disappointed for my friends who were winning down to the wire and would have had $14k in wedding services donated for the big day. WOWT Fail. http://www.facebook.com/wowt6
Classic work from a station that just can't seem to get anything right. It'll be interesting to see if they keep running promos exhorting viewers to visit their Facebook page (or "Face-bick," if you're Maltard Maddox).

It adds even more irony than usual to the phrase "The News You Trust," doesn't it?

Friday, May 27, 2011

Bland

A key cog in Channel Sux's collection of charisma-challenged reporters and anchors, weekend newsreader Ann McIntire appears to be vying to replace Maltard Maddox on the station's "Daybreak" program when the latter succeeds Tracy Madden as lead female anchor on June 6th.

Anchoring Friday's 5 p.m. blabbercast, McIntire informed viewers that, due to flooding along the Missouri River,
"additional [city] parks may need to be closed, if necessary."

Being able to deliver that kind of line would seem to give the mousy McIntire a decided edge as the station looks for someone to giggle and toss out trite remarks in response to co-anchor Jimmy Thiedlecki's desperate (and loud and just plain sad) attempts to prove how smart he is.

Monday, May 09, 2011

Compass?

Leave it to Maltard. This morning, she warned viewers about a traffic accident in "North O."

The location? 48th and Giles. (See "A" on map below.)

Just one more example of the two dimwits anchoring that "show" (as they call it) simultaneously pretending to know it all and showcasing their profound ignorance.

Thursday, May 05, 2011

Jumping

An alert reader offers an uncorroborated report that Tracy Madden is leaving SuxNews, with her last broadcast scheduled for June 2nd.

According to this tip, weatherguesser/self-appointed lifestyle advisor Andrea Rich and an unidentified photojournalist are packing their bags, as well.

The cause in these and other recent cases is said to be extreme disdain for management, particularly news director Amy Adams

This will almost certainly mean a promotion to main anchor for congenitally vacuuous morning anchorette Maltard Maddox, who displays all the knowledge and gravitas of a second-string high school cheerleader. Jimmy Siedlecki must be jealous, knowing that he's stuck on the morning show and barking his "Burglaries and Break-ins" schtick at viewers.

Maddox seems likely to cling to that gig until her features start to sag in a decade or so and her weight inches upward at which time she'll be given the boot for whatever giggling dimwit they have waiting in the wings.

Meanwhile, J-Pa Knicely remains at the desk, apparently blissfully unaffected by the place collapsing around him.

Monday, May 02, 2011

Dead

Sure that that they could do a much better job of informing Omahans about a breaking international news story, Channels 3rd and Sux cut off network coverage of Osama Bin Laden's death at 11:00 p.m. on Sunday.

Channel 3rd zipped quickly to local news. SuxNews opened with anchor Tracy Madden repeating what we already knew about the Bin Laden story, as if she were speaking to first graders, while John Knicely stumbled and bumbled his way through a succession of half-sentences in a futile attempt to add something of value. He failed.

As they spoke, viewers were reminded that "The News You Trust" needs to get a copy of Mavis Beacon Teaches Typing (or Reader Rabbit). Station graphics announced, for example, that "Osbama bin Laden has been killed." (Thanks to alert reader and frequent commenter "Dumb Anguish" for the catch.)

Luckily for local viewers, Channel 7 stuck with its network feed for an additional 30 minutes, during which time ABC reporters at the White House and the Pentagon offered numerous additional details about the U.S. Special Forces raid that led to Bin Laden's demise.

On the other hand, anyone watching 3rd or Sux learned that Berkshire Hathaway's annual gathering continued on Sunday, a local barista got to play bridge with Bill Gates, the Omaha Storm Chasers lost, and Husker safety Eric Hagg was the 248th player selected in the NFL draft.

So you can see why they needed to cut in on the network feed.

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Dimmer?

Are we imagining it, or is Omaha's best-known airhead, John Knicely, burning through a lot of vacation days lately? 

Since last summer, it seems that, if it's not a sweeps period, J-Pa is nowhere to be found on Channel Sux. Does he know something we don't? (It's not as if he could be exhausted from all the mental energy he puts into his work.)

On the surface, his frequent absences are strikingly (and tantalizingly) reminiscent of the way turkey-necked former anchor Pat Persaud mowed through her vacation time in the months leading up to her "retirement" back in 2005.

With the way SuxNews has been shedding employees of late, ya gotta wonder. And hope.

Thursday, March 03, 2011

Daily Double

Every time we think we'll sit down and write about some of the blunders at other stations, SuxNews manages to push its competitors aside to display just how comprehensive its incompetence is.

This morning, morning monkey Jethro Siedlecki and his co-workers were able to screw up the same word two different ways!

This episode occurred during a story about recent cases of whooping cough, also known as pertussis.

Not only was the on-screen spelling mangled ("pertussus"); Thiedlecki added his own special touch by pronouncing it "purr-TOOSE-us" (for clarity, we're pretending there was no lithp). (Hear the correct pronunciation here.)

To make sure we weren't being overly critical, we checked with a medical professional who's been in the profession 27 years; she confirmed Jimmy's idiocy, saying that she has never heard anyone pronounce it as he did.

So, hang on, Channel 3rd. Maybe we'll get to you tomorrow.

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Baby

• Well, it was only a matter of time until SuxNews morning anchor Malorie "Ellie May" Maddox followed in the footsteps of former anchorcrone Pat Persaud and started using her baby to further her career. Tuesday's 10 p.m. SuxCast featured a report from "backpack journalist" LeAnn Moorman, who visited Maltard and her family at home. Maltard sounded like any other brain-dead former cheerleader as she gushed about how much she's enjoying "meather-HID."

• The tradition of hype about anchorbabies at SuxNews is well-established; anchors like Maltard and Queen Pat appear be immune to shame as they allow the station to hype their kids' births as if they were part of the Shrine Circus.

But such orgies are hardly obligatory. Both current evening anchor Tracy Madden and recently dismissed weekend anchor Jaime McCutcheon avoided turning their kids into props. Yes, they allowed a picture or two, but stopped short of letting the station take over the house and run never-ending promos about their big events. The same goes for Channel 7's Brandi Petersen, whose recent baby delivery was mentioned but hardly given the hoopla accorded baby Maltard.

• The idiotic anchorbaby stories are a favorite at Channel Sux. They're likely something news director Amy Adams heard at some convention or wherever it is that lazy news directors get their ideas. According to insiders at Sux, Adams is a big part of the reason for lousy morale and claptrap work there. Add her name to the long list of finalists in the pink-slip competition at 35th and Farnam. In fact, you may want to put it near the top.

• Finally, can anyone explain why SuxNews's Sunday morning blathercast featured a rotating list of school closings at the bottom of the screen?



Thursday, February 24, 2011

Caught

A couple of years ago, we experienced a rare moment of joy while watching Channel Sux's "Live at Daybreak" program when whoever was directing cut too quickly from a b-roll back to a yammering Jimmy "Jethro" Siedlecki, who, it turned out, was picking his nose.

To our disappointment, no alert readers recorded that insightful moment and sent it to us to post.

Luckily for us, Jethro's apparently a slow learner. Earlier this week, he got caught again. And this time, thanks to "News 4 You" and an alert reader, we can bring it to you here.

Enjoy.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Death Spiral Continues

An alert reader reports that, in news even more revolting than the usual excrement flowing out of Channel Sux, weekend anchor Jaime McCutcheon was escorted from the building on Wednesday after being notified that her contract was not being renewed.

If the station has truly dumped McCutcheon, one of the few talented on-air personalities left at the station, that brings to approximately a half-dozen the number of departures in recent months. Even though most of those exits involved folks we won't miss, that kind of turnover usually suggests deteriorating morale, which isn't good if you're already nearly bankrupt when it comes to talent and creativity.

We continue to marvel Channel Sux's uncanny knack for letting the wrong people get away while retaining the shoddy services of folks like John Knicely, Jimmy Siedlecki, John Chapman, and Gary Smollen. If TV station managers could be prosecuted for serial ineptitude, the nitwits running WOWT would be locked up even longer than whoever's in charge at KPTM.

Sunday, February 06, 2011

Lifted

Dear KPTM/KXVO:

We really like that you're airing a spot noting that giggling Channel Sux Ejacucaster Jim Flowers looks like Simpsons character Ned Flanders. The "Separated at Birth?" tag at the end is an especially nice touch.

However, a trip down Amnesia Lane to March 11, 2005 might make someone think you'd gotten the idea somewhere else.

By the way, did you catch Channel Sux's discussion of the spot on its 10 p.m. Sunday newscast? Flowers seems to be flattered by the comparison, even though he says he'd never heard of Ned Flanders before and had to look him up on Wikipedia.

Isn't blissful cluelessness another of Ned's most amusing traits?

Well, gotta run. Feel free to keep pilfering our work. Next maybe you can air a promo pointing out Jimmy Thiedlecki's uncanny resemblance to the Beverly Hillbillies' Jethro Bodine. Or Gomer Pyle. Either one works.



Ted

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Five

With so many problems to document, WOWT seldom gives us cause (or pause) to praise its quality-challenged efforts.

However, from time to time, we try to remind ourselves that there remain a few salvageable parts that could form the core of a reconstituted on-air team, were the station's management/ownership so inclined.

1. Caitlin Roth. We've sung her praises twice recently, so there's not a lot to add. But why it's taken years for the higher-ups to recognize (and put to good use) this woman's talent is a complete mystery. (The answer is probably related to why it's taken the station close to two decades to recognize the ineptitude of John Chapman and Gary Smollen.) As we've said previously, Roth should be put in charge of the weather department immediately, if not sooner.

2. Jaime McCutcheon. The longtime weekend anchor is SuxNews's second most recent high-quality hire. Her delivery is generally polished, her demeanor poised, and she does more than stare vacantly when something goes wrong, which on the weekends is often. In the events of a shakeup at 35th and Farnam, McCutcheon would be our choice to take over the 4 p.m. and 5 p.m. newscasts.

3. Rusty Lord. Prior to Roth's arrival on the morning scene, Lord was stuck in the Kingdom of the Dumbed, somehow retaining the ability to speak intelligently, despite spending most of his on-air time with Hee Haw candidates Jimmy "Jethro" Siedlecki and Malorie "Ellie May" Maddox. It's a wonder he's not playing a banjo and talking like Eb from Green Acres.

4. Tracy Madden. While she isn't perfect, Madden has done a reasonably good job of steering clear of the inanity thrown at her by co-anchor, John "J-Pa" Knicely.  Honestly, who among us could prop this empty suit up through three newscasts a day and not become a drooling, babbling idiot? Not to mention putting up with all the idiotic consultant-driven gimmicks that keep creeping into the station's programming. Somehow, Madden has come through it relatively unscathed and displays a fairly low tolerance for the giggling antics of J-Pa, Giggly Jim Flowers, and gopher-voiced Ross Jernstrom. Give that woman a medal!

5. Mike McKnight. Yeah, the pun schtick has worn thin. But the guy actually does some real reporting and clearly puts thought and effort into his work. He's one of the last reporters of his generation still on the air in Omaha and he deserves a place as long as he wants one.

Aside from those five, everyone else deserves pink slips, because, unlike Channel 7 and even Channel 3, Channel Sux has done an embarrassingly bad job of developing talent. As one alert reader commented recently, "WOWT changes people once they've been on the air there for a while, and not for the better. . . . Something about how poorly that place does business just seems to eat away at them, killing them slowly. You don't get better there."

Evidence? Compare results.

KETV has reporters who often start out shaky but manage to develop into relatively competent personalities. And it's not like they truck talent in from all over the country. A surprising percentage of their roster includes high-performing natives of the area: Rob McCartney, Brandi Petersen, Melissa Fry, and Todd Andrews are the most notable of the current staff who hail from nearby. Someone is helping them improve, "coaching them up" to higher, more professional levels of performance.

By contrast, consider SuxNews's local "talent": Smollen has been at the station over 15 years and is no less boring today than when he started. Jodi Baker seems to have regressed since her arrival at Sux, developing an oddly-pitched on-air voice and stilted delivery. Brian Mastre's skills, if charted, would result in a flat line. And mousy, inarticulate Ann McIntire is beyond help. All of this is to say nothing of the station's penchant for clinging to dead wood like Chapman and J-Pa.

So, in addition to pink slipping most of the current staff (they're all either in too big a rut to change or lack the requisite talent altogether), those who are responsible for staff development at the Big Sux should also start packing up.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Cool

We can't remember the last time the management of SuxNews got a decison so right.

But we couldn't have been more surprised this morning when we awoke to the sight of meteorologist Caitlin Roth substituting for Maltard Maddox on the Daybreak program. (Maddox is on maternity leave, having delivered a baby last Friday.)

As mentioned in this space before, Roth has been stellar as anchor of the midday program the last several weeks, but stellar work has seldom been correlated with an increase in airtime at Channel Sux. In fact, the casual viewer might reasonably suspect an inverse relationship between the two.

Unfortunately for Roth, she must share the anchor desk with the poster boy for baseless self-satisfaction, the hickish Jimmy Siedlecki, who was all too eager this morning to play the role of knowing veteran showing a "new kid" the ropes. What Jethro doesn't seem to realize is that Roth is better at the anchor desk after a few weeks than he is after years of trying to get it right.

But, lest our message be lost against the specter of Jimmy's lispy quips, we offer our gratitude to SuxNews for its shocking display of good judgment.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Observations

A few odds and ends at the end of a snowy week . . .

• We happened to catch Action 3rd's 10 p.m. Thursday 'cast and must admit that it was surprisingly not awful. Bland anchor Carol Wang was working without her bland co-anchor, What's-His-Name. While no stories were outstanding, it was a solid, fairly well-executed effort. If all (or even most) of the station's evening newscasts are of similar quality, we'd have to say KMTV is second only to KETV when it comes to delivering a watchable product.

• Meanwhile, we can't avoid being irritated about Channel 7's new-found flirtations with pointlessness. First, there's the recent introduction of "7 Mobile Live" (a car with a cellphone), which on Friday morning gave viewers choppy video and audio of Melissa Fry driving around town. Other than giving them a chance to say "7 Mobile Live," we can't figure out what it was supposed to add to the broadcast.

• A second helping of stupidity has come with the station's decision to follow SuxNews's lead by making frequent references to its Facebook page. Why can't all stations realize that no one's tuning in to see something they can find online 24/7? And even if people were tuning in for that, what's the point of having an anchor read random posts? The extent to which stations must strain to accomplish this was displayed by Channel 3rd on Thursday at 10; one quoted comment was "That's right!" And we're not editing; that really was the entire quote.

• KETV has also decided to emulate its inferiors at WOWT by having anchors finish talking to a reporter in the field and then turn to the camera and tell viewers that "that was [insert name here], reporting live." Isn't Channel 7 above adopting such hackneyed habits?

• Finally, we would be remiss not to acknowledge the glee we feel each time SuxNews airs its "I on the Metro" during Live at Five and the anchor is forced to conclude the segment by begging viewers to send in their own 25-second mumbly clips. Actually, the glee comes from the fact that we have yet to see even one viewer-submitted shaky video. All we get is shaky video from the station's skeleton crew of reporters, which only shows us one more thing they're bad at.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Techmaginary

It may be cold outside, but in Omaha's TV newsrooms, idiotic gimmicks are in full bloom.

Exhibit A: KETV swung into action on Monday evening with Brandi Petersen breathlessly introducing a "7 Mobile Live" report from Lincoln, which ended up being no more than a reporter on a cell phone in a car.

Exhibit B: SuxNews's 5 p.m. Tuesday "I On the Metro" found charisma-challenged reporter Gary Smollen driving down Farnam Street taking cell phone video from the dashboard of his car and mumbling about street conditions. The best part of the whole piece was Smollen's brilliant choice of route: it took him right past Channel 7, giving viewers a nice, long look at the giant "7" logo and "KETV" on the side of the building.

Kudos to both outfits for enriching viewers' lives with this cutting-edge journalism.

Saturday, January 08, 2011

Missed

Not sure what we were thinking when we wrote our predictions post and suggested that Channel 7 would try out Melissa Fry on the evening anchor desk during Brandi Petersen's maternity leave.

While that is certainly one option, a better one might to move current morning anchor Nichole Berlie to evenings.

Berlie, who holds a master's degree from broadcasting factory Syracuse has been at the station longer than Fry and is as smooth and credible an anchor as you'll find in this town.

When is the last time an Omaha station having two talented anchor candidates on its bench?

Speaking of qualified anchors, several alert readers (and Mrs. Brockman) have mentioned that SuxNews meteorologist Caitlin Roth seems to have taken over the 11:30 a.m. chair in addition to her weather duties. All give glowing reports.

Regular Channel Sux viewers must be stupefied to have switched so suddenly from small-timer Jimmy Thiedlecki to the poised, intelligent Penn State graduate Roth. (PSU is considered by many to be the top meteroology school in the U.S.)

If SuxNews management has any sense whatsoever (and there's no reason to believe they do), they'll move Giggly Jim Flowers toward the door and replace him with Roth, post haste.

Saturday, January 01, 2011

Numbers

Happy New Year.

Since today is 1/1/11, we can only wonder how long it will take local newspaper columnist Mike Kelly to cobble together some bizarre anecdote about someone celebrating a first birthday (turning one) today, weighing 1,111 pounds, or living at 111 South 11th Street.
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