Par re-tools ‘Hard Copy’

Murphy, Nolan out; focus shifts to in-depth reporting

On the eve of its 10th season premiere next month, Paramount’s syndie strip “Hard Copy” is shifting its focus from day-and-date breaking news and celebrity gossip to more in-depth reporting on individual newsmakers and other human interest fare.

Par signaled its intent to change the tone of “Hard Copy” last month when longtime co-anchor Terry Murphy was let go. Co-anchor Barry Nolan also is leaving the show, Par execs confirmed Thursday. Kyle Kraska, most recently an anchor/reporter for KCBS Los Angeles, will front “Hard Copy’s” new solo anchor format when the new season begins Sept. 14.

Par execs considered re-launching the show with a new title, but “Hard Copy” affiliate stations were cool to the idea of having to use valuable promo time to introduce a whole new commodity.

“Hard Copy” has seen its ratings decline from its tabmag heyday in the early 1990s as more network and syndie newsmags emerged and cablers like E! mined its showbiz buzz territory.

Frank Kelly, co-president of Paramount Domestic Television, said the “Hard Copy” makeover was spurred by a need to differentiate the show from the rest of the newsmag field.

“There’s been so much imitation of the kinds of stories that we used to do, that we now need to find different ways to attract a different audience,” said Kelly.

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