Continuing the rapid expansion of local television news, Lexington's CBS affiliate, WKYT (Channel 27), has launched an hourlong newscast at 4 p.m. weekdays.
The addition will mean a new competitive timeslot in local news; NBC affiliate WLEX (Channel 18) previously launched a half-hour newscast at 4 p.m. in 2010.
"There's no greater lead-in to local news than local news," said WKYT News Director Robert Thomas. "That's why it was a smart decision for us."
Similar newscasts have also been successful at other TV stations owned by WKYT's parent company, Gray Television, said General Manager Chris Mossman.
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The newscast will mean 21/2 hours of afternoon news for WKYT, stretching from 4 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. weekdays.
The 4 p.m. newscast will "have much more of an emphasis on breaking news and what's happening right now and how the day is still unfolding," Thomas said. "It doesn't mean, though, we won't have some fun elements in it."
Former anchor DeAnn Stephens is returning to offer feature stories on interesting people and events.
"There are so many good things happening and so many wonderful people out in our community," said Stephens, who will continue to co-host her morning radio show at WBUL-98.1 FM with Officer Don Evans. WKYT is a partner with WBUL owner Clear Channel.
Beyond Stephens, WKYT will also be hiring two additional employees for the newscast, Mossman said.
The 4 p.m. newscast will displace Anderson Cooper's syndicated daytime talk show, which has been canceled after its second season. Cooper's show will continue through the end of the summer, but WKYT is moving it to its subchannel that airs nightly programming from The CW, Mossman said.
The move is the second expansion in local news for WKYT in recent months. In November, the station added weekend morning newscasts from 6 to 8 a.m. Saturdays and 8 to 9 a.m. Sundays.