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KCAL afternoons to grow up

Announces plans to ship animated half-hours to early mornings, weekends

KCAL plans to drop its afternoon kids program block in early fringe come fall and replace it with more “adult” fare while shipping several Disney animated half-hours to early mornings and weekends, the station’s VP-G.M. Don Corsini told a small gathering of reporters Wednesday morning.

But Corsini cautioned that KCAL wasn’t “getting out of the kids business. We’re just moving that programming to different dayparts.” He noted that with competition from the Disney Channel, Nickelodeon, the Cartoon Network and others, “it makes that business even more difficult to service.”

While Corsini declined to guess what specific shows might replace the afternoon kiddie fare, he stressed that the station would serve families beginning in the fall with a 6 to 8 p.m. family-friendly block.

At the informal Wednesday meeting — designed to update KCAL’s goals better than a year after the station’s sale by Disney to Young Broadcasting — Corsini and news director Dennis Herzig also announced that the station would add a half-hour weekday newscast at 3:30 p.m. beginning Monday despite KCOP’s recent inability to sell a 3:30 news of its own.

The addition of a 3:30 broadcast gives KCAL 5-1/2 hours of news each weekday, also including hour newscasts at noon and 2 p.m. as well as the recently revamped three-hour block in primetime. It makes the station “the largest provider of local news in Southern California,” Herzig said.

“Is there an appetite for news at 3:30?” Corsini asked. “Our research comes back and says yes, certainly, there is an audience there.

Herzig and Corsini also didn’t rule out the possibility of adding a 9 a.m. news show down the road.

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