CBS Lends National Boost to Local News As Jamie Yuccas Joins KCAL

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Jamie Yuccas’ new Los Angeles assignment at KCAL is likely to make waves among followers of local news. But it’s part of a big national effort by the station’s owner, Paramount Global.

Yuccas, a veteran correspondent at CBS News, will be one of the anchors of a new seven-hour morning block of local newscasts on the CBS-owned station. Yuccas, who will continue to serve as a CBS News correspondent, will anchor from 7 a.m. to 10 a.m. on KCAL each morning, making her one of the faces viewers will likely see as they get ready for their day. KCAL intends to show news from 4 a.m. to 11 a.m. each day.

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The company is trying to offer more local news via 14 owned affiliates to both their linear and streaming audiences. Local news spurs deeper connections with viewers, says Wendy McMahon co president of CBS’ news and stations unit, in an interview. “The local news we produce drives impact, and that impact is service to our community, she says. “Ultimately, it has a positive impact on the business.”

Since rejoining CBS in May of 2021, McMahon has focused a lot of energy on expanding the reach of the local newsrooms under her aegis, all the while working to expand synergies between the company’s big national news assets and its local and regional ones. WCCO in Minneapolis launched a new 4 p.m. newscast on Labor Day. WJZ debuted a new 7 a.m. show for its streaming counterpart, CBS News Baltimore. KCNC started streaming new local hours CBS News Denver at 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. before adding them to the station’s linear lineup. And stations in New York, Chicago, Philadelphia, Dallas-Fort Worth, San Francisco, Boston and Miami are starting new 9 a.m. news programs for both linear and streaming,

Other broadcast stalwarts have begun filing daytime hours with news programming. ABC has found new traction with “GMA3,” an early-afternoon extension of its flagship “Good Morning America. NBC, meanwhile, recently moved its long-running soap opera “Days of Our Lives” to the Peacock streaming hub, filling the TV grid with a broadcast of “NBC News Daily,” essentially the same hour being transmitted via its own NBC News Now streaming service, with room left for local stations to add to the mix.

Local TV news helps boost one of TV’s most enticing attributes, says McMahon — live programming. And offering similar programming on streaming allows the company to amortize production that is already happening at each local newsroom, she adds. So it makes good business sense to “expand the overall news offering on broadcast TV. McMahon estimates CBS stations are producing “nearly 17,000 more hours of local news than we were a year ago,” a 57% increase at the company’s local CBS stations.

“All of that work has ultimately led to a real uptick in ratings from last season,” she adds.

The selection of Yuccas to boost the effort is somewhat unorthodox. She will also continue to serve as a guest co-anchor at “CBS Mornings,” the network’s national morning program. KCAL’s Los Angeles sibling, KCBS, will broadcast “CBS Mornings” both live at 4 a.m. and on a delayed basis at 7 a.m. She has been with CBS since 2011, when she was hired as a reporter and morning anchor at WCCO.

But CBS is eager to find new ways to deploy its journalists across an organization that has more places for them, says McMahon. “She exudes confidence while also being uniquely approachable, which makes her really special on air,” the executive says.

Yuccas isn’t the only network journalist finding new opportunities thanks to streaming. NBC News tapped Kate Snow, who anchors the Sunday broadcast of “NBC Nightly News,” to work on “NBC News Daily,” and also moved a one-time MSNBC show, “Meet The Press Daily” over to NBC News Now.

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