KNBC launching 7 p.m. newscast for L.A. market

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NBC’s owned station in Los Angles will add a 7 p.m. newscast Monday, June 7, 2021.

The new newscast will replace “Access Hollywood,” which is moving to 7:30 p.m. local time, following the previously announced cancellation of “All Access,” a spinoff to “Access Hollywood” that aired in four NBC owned markets, including L.A.

Longtime KNBC fixture Colleen Williams will anchor the new newscast, the station announced. Meteorologist Melissa Magee will also appear.

The newscast will create a local news “sandwich” with “NBC Nightly News” between the station’s 6 and 7 p.m. shows.

KNBC also airs full hours of local news at 4 and 5 p.m. local time, lead in by “The Ellen DeGeneres Show,” which is ending next season and will be replaced on NBC owned stations by “The Kelly Clarkson Show” to serve as a lead in to local news.

This will require stations with a 60 minute gap of time to fill on the schedule. No official move has been announced, but possibilities include picking up a syndicated show either not aired in a market or nabbing it from a rival, airing a new show from NBCU or filling the time with local programming such as more news or a lifestyle show.

KNBC already airs a half hour lifestyle show called “California Live.”

In the Pacific time zone, 7 to 8 p.m. is known as “access hour” (no relation to the show).

Access hour gets its name from the 1970 Prime Time Access Rule that restricted how much network programming could air on local stations during evening hours.

The rule, which ended in 1996, barred stations from carrying network programming at this time in a move that was originally meant to encourage local productions.

However, with many stations unable or unwilling to produce 60 minutes of local content every day, a loophole that allowed syndicated programming to count toward this requirement was leveraged for decades.

Although the PTAR is no longer law, the effects of it are still largely in play in most markets of the U.S.

Syndicated programming is pricey, however, and the market for successful syndicated shows is competitive, so recent years have seen more local stations taking back all or part of access hour for local productions, most commonly local news.

While local news may not beat stalwarts such as “Jeopardy!” or “Wheel of Fortune” airing on competing stations, the relative cost of producing another 30 or 60 minutes of news content is typically low since the station is already staffed with anchors, reporters and crew.

Even with lower ratings, the net profit on local news versus syndicated shows can be stronger for a station’s bottom line (stations also typically get to keep all of the ad revenue they collect during the time, where many syndicated shows hold back a few blocks of commercials to sell themselves).