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KICU 36 to launch 7 p.m. news in January

KTVU Channel 2 plans to launch a 7 p.m. newscast in January anchored by Gasia Mikaelian (pictured) that will air on sister station KICU Channel 36.

Titled “The Bay Area News at 7,” the 30-minute program will focus on local news and is aimed at viewers who don’t return home from their evening commute until the 6 p.m. newscasts are over. The new newscast will be broadcast in high definition, as are all of KTVU’s other newscasts. “This newscast will benefit from all of KTVU’s news resources. It will be high quality, high energy and it will include all the KTVU Channel 2 News coverage that Bay Area viewers have come to know and expect from us,” said Ed Chapuis, KTVU Channel 2 news director.

With the announcement of the new newscast, KTVU has given Mikaelian a new role at the station — solo anchor of the new 7 p.m. cast and co-anchor with Frank Somerville of the Channel 2 news at 5 p.m.

Mikaelian, a Livermore native, is a graduate of San Diego State University. Since 1997, she has worked in television in Yuma, Ariz., Huntsville, Ala., San Diego and Houston. She joined KTVU in March 2005 as a reporter and fill-in anchor, and was promoted to weekend anchor in July.

With Mikaelian’s promotion, KTVU is looking for two weekend anchors. Channel 2’s other weekend anchor, Sara Sidner, is headed to CNN, where she will be assigned to a bureau in India.

The addition of a 7 p.m. newscast means that Bay Area news junkies will have a live local newscast every hour from 4 to 11 on weekdays with the exception of the 8 p.m. hour.

The Bay Area market isn’t the only one with a new local newscast at 7 p.m. In September, WNBC in New York replaced its traditional 5 p.m. newscast with one at 7 p.m. in what it calls a response to changing viewer habits, according to The New York Times.

“Not only has WNBC jettisoned its 5 p.m. newscast, with the rationale that fewer people are home at that time to watch it, but the solo-anchor format for [Chuck] Scarborough [right] will rely more heavily on news than on the typical local formula of news, sports and weather,” the Times wrote. The WNBC 7 p.m. program is titled “New York Nightly News” and it is designed to look and feel like “The NBC Nightly News With Brian Williams” which precedes it at 6:30. (Photo credits: top, KTVU; Gabriele Stabile , NYT)

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