Big Easy Station to Dump Newscast

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Starting Monday, WWL will scrap the 9 p.m. weeknight newscast it has produced for sister station WUPL and will launch “The 504,” a new interview-focused show hosted by Melanie Hebert, in its place. The show will be recorded each morning so Hebert can continue her role on WWL’s morning-news block.

“I think we’re looking for a chance to do something original, and that would allow us to have a little bit more depth,” said Bill Siegel, WWL’s news director. “It can be a wide range of topics. One night, we might do a half-hour on Orleans Parish Prison. Another night, we might do education (or) Jazz Fest.

“We’re just excited to try something new and do some longer-form interview segments. I think with the kind of elections we have and the number of elections we have, it will be really valuable to have a lot of different candidates come and talk about issues and try to do some debate-style things that we couldn’t really do during regular newscasts.”

Airing against prime time competition (including CBS’ dominant lineup on WWL) and WVUE’s hour-long 9 p.m. newscast, the WWL-on-WUPL newscast was among the lowest rated local newscasts in any time slot during the recent February “sweeps” rating period, averaging a 1.1 rating.

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