Capra joins Fox’s KTTV as new G.M.

Fox-owned KTTV yesterday named Tom Capra, former executive producer of NBC’s “Today” show and KNBC-TV news director, as the station’s new general manager. The announcement follows KTTV’s lengthy search for a station boss.

Capra becomes a first-time G.M. after a 20-year career in news producing. His appointment is in line with Fox chief Rupert Murdoch’s focus on building a news and information image for his station group.

In an interview yesterday, Capra said KTTV “is in incredibly good shape,” but noted two primary areas that will demand his immediate attention when he takes the helm Nov. 16:

He will focus on improving thestation’s 10 p.m. newscast and he will work on “finding some kind of morning program. It’s one of the things that we need to address quickly.”

KTTV would enter into a daypart fairly soon, bumping heads with indie rival KTLA. The Tribune-owned station, which currently has a lock on the 7-9 a.m. hours with its top-rated “Morning News,” also is eying an hour local ayem talkshow to follow the newscast.

Chris-Craft/United’s KCOP also may have some interest in eventually entering the daypart with its own locally produced newscast.

Capra called KTLA’s effort “an interesting show” and admitted that he is a big fan of “Good Day, New York” on WNYW, the Fox flagship station in New York, because “it is completely irreverent.”

The Gotham morning show, however, “has such an edge to it that I’m not sure it would work in Los Angeles,” he said.

A more “laid-back” version of the show for L.A. might be a possibility, Capra acknowledged.

In terms of KTTV’s prime time news, the program already has undergone changes in recent months, with faster pacing and flashy graphics to make it more palatable to Fox Broadcasting’s young-skewing audience.

Capra said he wants to wait until he sees research before making a firm decision about how to proceed with the news.

“It’s not a disaster right now,” he said. “It’s not like I have to worry about putting something back together.”

Other factors also will come into play, including a possible reduction in the length of the news if Fox Broadcasting or Twentieth TV should land David Letterman and give him a 10:30 p.m. slot.

The new G.M. replaces Greg Nathanson, who oversaw the station in addition to serving as prexy of the Fox O&O group until early this summer. Nathanson quickly turned up across the street from the Hollywood Fox lot as general manager of KTLA.

Capra most recently has been working as an exec producer with NBC Prods., where he has been anchored since departing as exec producer of “Today.”

Before joining the network program in January 1990, Capra spent five years as news director at KNBC.

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