Oklahoma City station promos new 4 p.m. newscast

Hearst’s KOCO in Oklahoma City is launching a 4 p.m. newscast, joining the other “big three” stations in the market in doing so and coming up with its solution for replacing the now-ended “Ellen DeGeneres Show.”

“Ellen” ended in May 2022 and has remained in repeats all summer, but any stations that carry the show needed to find a replacement. In markets where NBC owns the local station, which does not include KOCO, the network announced it would move “The Kelly Clarkson Show” into the timeslot, which typically leads into the local 4 p.m. news.

KOCO, however, has opted to simply fill the “Ellen” slot with its own local news, to be titled “KOCO 5 News at 4.” “Clarkson” will lead into that newscast.

KFOR (NBC) and KWTV (CBS) both offer 4 p.m. newscasts, with KWTV claiming the “First at Four” branding (this name is common for at least one 4 p.m. early afternoon newscast in each market, but doesn’t necessarily mean that it was the first station to launch in the time period). The local Fox and Telemundo stations don’t start local news until 5 p.m., as KOCO used to.

In a promo announcing the new newscast, co-anchors Abigail Ogle and Zach Rael will be joined by meteorologist Damon Lane. All of them appear in the promo, which features various shots from around the station and studio as well as field footage.

The promo also hints that the newscast will feature local coverage and “smart reporting to keep you safe” plus consumer-oriented reporting, which is illustrated by NBC’s “Rossen Reports” franchise that it makes available to affiliates.

 The newscast will also feature the station’s format of highlighting the “top 5” stories (inspired by its legacy channel number), according to the promo.

KOCO will launch the newscast Aug. 15, 2022 at 4 p.m. local time. 

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Launching a 4 p.m. newscast instead of trying to find a new syndicated program makes a certain amount of sense, especially given that 2022 is a mid-term election year that’s expected to fuel the local ad market in most areas of the country.

KOCO will be able to fill the 4 p.m. hour with an hour of programming that will likely be comparatively less expensive to produce than paying the syndication fees for a new or existing syndicate show that’s likely to attract high viewership. It will still have “Clarkson” as a lead-in as well, meaning it could quickly become a viable contender. 

That will presumably get to keep 100% of ad revenue, instead of having to share it with syndication companies in addition to forking over the often hefty royalties. 

Meanwhile, NBC owned stations have yet to announce any plans for how they will fill the hour of programming time left by “Ellen” after “Clarkson” moves into her time.

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