The new face coming to the Fox News at 9 is a familiar one to Utah television viewers.
It's the face belonging to former KUTV-Ch. 2 anchorman Bob Evans.And his hiring comes as at least a bit of a surprise, simply because KSTU-Ch. 13 has been looking for a female anchor to replace the departed Libby Weaver. Evans will replace current Fox anchorman Brad Giffen, who's leaving in early October.
Evans will be Ch. 13's first anchorman who's already familiar to local viewers.
"What he brings is 15 years of solid news background, a great local base, and knowledge of local political, social, and environmental issues," said Steve Carlston, KSTU's vice president and general manager.
The decision not to renew Giffen's contract was amicable, Carlston said.
"Brad has been a true gentleman. He understands that it was a business decision," he said. "He has a bright future in this business. We wish Brad all the best as he moves on."
Evans, you may recall, was originally hired as the lead male anchor at Ch. 2, anchoring the 6 p.m. and 10 p.m. newscasts. He got bumped to No. 2 - and back to noon and 5 p.m. - when the station rehired Terry Wood in 1990.
And then the handwriting was on the wall when Ch. 2 hired Phil Riesen in 1993. KUTV offered to keep Evans on at a much reduced salary - an offer he declined.
(All of which was at least a bit ironic, given the public outcry that accompanied Riesen being dropped by KTVX-Ch. 4 in favor of Randall Carlisle.)
Evans was a class act throughout his years at Ch. 2, never publicly complaining about how he was treated by the station.
He hasn't altogether disappeared from the local airwaves since leaving Ch. 2 - he's been hosting KBYU-Ch. 11's monthly call-in show with the governor.
Who exactly Evans will be co-anchoring the Fox News at 9 with has yet to be determined. The search continues for a new female anchor.
BIG TROUBLE: Libby Weaver, meanwhile, may be wishing she hadn't taken a job with the syndicated "Extra."
NBC has announced that, in conjunction with New World Communications, it's going to launch yet another half-hour daily entertainment magazine in the fall of 1996. Thus, the NBC-owned stations either have or soon will drop "Extra."
That will cost the show its outlets in New York, Los Angeles and Chicago - and puts "Extra's" future very much in doubt.
Weaver recently joined "Extra" as a reporter and weekend co-anchor.
GOOD DEAL - FOR USU: The announcement that KUTV-Ch. 2 will broadcast half a dozen Utah State football and basketball games - three of each - is nearly a mirror image of KJZZ-Ch. 14 deal with the University of Utah.
That deal was really good for Ch. 14, and maybe not so good for the Utes. It put them on a weaker station and, potentially, will decrease their viewership.
On the other hand, USU made out great. It will be getting the best local TV exposure it has ever had.
But USU games have not been big ratings attractions. That's not a disparaging comment about the Aggies, it's just a fact.
Reportedly, Ch. 2 didn't pay much for the USU rights. And the station won't make much, either.
At least it keeps KUTV in the local sports game. And there's the Aggies' 1996 home football game with BYU to look forward to.
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