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May 2, 2007
Channel 13 tries to get noticed in the a.m.


Philosophical question: If Channel 13 makes a major overhaul in its morning news show, and nobody is around to watch it, did it really happen?

Answer: Yes.

Late last week, Channel 13 broke up the anchor team of Michele Kane and Lisa Gonzales and replaced them with the team of Chris Burrous (pictured) - and a computer.

Let me explain. Burrous is one of the hosts of sister station Channel 31's "Good Day Sacramento" weekend show, where he has parlayed viewer interactivity via the Web - and maybe even some smoke signals to garner good ratings.

Anyway, now Burrous is clicking like mad on his mouse between 5 and 7 a.m. weekdays on the new morning show - but without the requisite "GDS" goofiness. He has conversations with viewers via broadband, muses about the top stories most downloaded stories of the day - be it the war in Iraq or the crazy video of deer busting through a nursing home. He'll click on Web sites, such as the one that tells you if flights out of Sacramento International Airport are on time.

They've even changed the name of the show. They call it ""

The show's only nod to conformity is that the personable Gonzales is around to do traditional news updates. Oh yeah, and Jeff James does the weather. (Kane, by the way, has moved over to the weekday edition of "GDS.")

Steve Charlier, vice president of news for channels 13 and 31, is so serious about making a ratings dent that he's also transferred Brandon Mercer, the successful executive producer of "GDS's" weekday edition, putting him in charge of ""

"There are five morning shows in the market now," Charlier says, "and what we don't want to do is produce (another) traditional morning show.

"So we decided to focus it on the Web and on business, and try to appeal to morning viewers who are into that. We will have some citizen journalism - people sending in home video. We'll still cover the news, but we'll integrate it with Yahoo and Google (news and searches). Obviously, it's experimental. We'll see how it goes."

Burrous, meanwhile, is still partially hosting "GDS's" weekend show with the curly-maned Taryn Winter Brill. But at the end of May sweeps, he'll be replaced by weatherman-turned-anchor Cody Stark.

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