Disney-owned indie KCAL-TV confirmed yesterday that it has hired Michael Binkow as the station’s new VP of programming and development.
Binkow, who started at the station on Monday, most recently served as VP of development for Castle Rock Entertainment, where he developed and produced series for firstrun syndication, cable and the network reality area.
Vacant since June
The KCAL post has been vacant since former program director Matthew Cooperstein left the station in June.
KCAL is anxious to get its program development efforts up and running. Most of the emphasis in recent months has been on the station’s new 6:30 p.m. local newscast.
Station general manager David Woodcock has said he wants KCAL to develop product alone or in combination with Disney or a third party.
By producing its own fare, KCAL could create a profit center by having its programs syndicated to other stations.
The added revenue could help offset the shrinking profit margins faced by Los Angeles TV stations in a recessionary economy.
KCAL also faces higher programming costs because it lacks the buying clout that comes by partnering with sister stations in N.Y. The market’s three other indies all are parts of companies with outlets in the N.Y. market.
Failed Pinelands attempt
Disney failed in its attempt earlier this year to gain a substantial interest in Pinelands’ WWOR-TV in New Jersey/New York. Pinelands subsequently sold the station to a subsid of KCOP’s parent, Chris-Craft/United Television.
There has been talk that KCAL may eventually create a local companion magazine show for King World’s “Inside Edition.” The station recently licensed KW’s fall ’93 entry “American Journal” for its 5-8 p.m. early fringe block.
Reality fare next?
The indie has failed to make much of a dent with some expensive off-net sitcoms in the critical daypart and may be looking at counter-programming its competitors with reality fare.
Binkow has been involved in a wide array of programming, including a stint as director of current programming for Fox Broadcasting Co. prior to joining Castle Rock.