Monday morning, something new -- dramatically new -- at the little station based in Melville and long known simply as "Channel 55": A two-hour morning show at 7 and an hourlong evening newscast at 9.
Suffice it to say, this much news is a huge departure for a station -- purchased by CBS earlier this year for $55 million -- long dependent on reruns and game shows. And while based in the heart of Long Island, both shows -- "WLNY News at 9," anchored by Chris Wragge and Dana Tyler, and "Live From the Couch," anchored by Carolina Bermudez, John Elliott and Lisa Kerney -- will originate from Ch. 2 studios in Manhattan.
Begging the question: Just how much L.I. news will these broadcasts offer?
We spoke with David Friend, WCBS/2 news director (and Woodmere resident) about the newcomers.
How much of the 9 p.m. broadcast will be devoted to Long Island news?
This newscast will not just be geared toward Long Island news but will be a representative newscast for everyone in the tristate area. But will there be more [Long Island news]? Absolutely. With Richard and our two veteran correspondents , we'll have the largest [broadcast] TV presence on Long Island.
Why at 9 p.m.?
Its our opportunity to rewrite the local news landscape by launching a 9 p.m. news [hour] when there's an available audience. Our research shows that if you're not home by 6 p.m., your next available [sindow] to watch is 9.
The shows will originate from Manhattan, but how will Richard Rose -- the Ch. 55 veteran who joined this Ch. 2/Ch. 55 "duopoly" -- be folded in?
Richard Rose will be doing live reports from the Melville studio, which will function as a significant bureau. Richard has the ability to focus hyperlocally on Nassau and Suffolk [plus]; he'll deliver his reports from the Melville studio that may not necessarily require a one- or two-minute report -- he'll give a smorgasbord of little stories instead.
Tell me a bit about the new morning show, which you're calling a "soft launch" . Why soft? And what about L.I.?
We want an ensemble morning broadcast , and it'll take a little time for the team to jell; we want to give them just a little breathing space. . . . How much L.I. news on this? When warranted, we'll definitely be able to call upon our Long Island resources, but still, only when warranted.
Meet Ch. 55's new local reporters
* New L.I. bureau chief
* Joined WLNY/55 in 1996
* Anchor and host of Sunday morning public affairs series
* Formerly anchor and reporter with stations in Jacksonville, Fla.; Portland, Me.; Colorado Springs; and Scottsbluff, Neb.
* Lives in Garden City with her husband and three children
* Returned to WCBS/2 in 1993 after working for Chicago's WBBW and "Nightly News"
* Began her career in Boston radio
* Covered the LIRR shooting, the crash of TWA flight 800, the Belle Harbor crash of flight 587 and the DWI limo murder trial.
* Joined WCBS/2 as a Long Island reporter last year
* Cancer survivor
* Has contributed to numerous papers, including Newsday
* Lives in Nassau County with her husband and two children.