Some might say KYTX president and general manager Phil Hurley has decided to pull his station’s news ratings out of the toilet by stepping into the gutter.


Lauren Jones: “Anchorwoman” star becomes anchorwoman

The Tyler, Texas, CBS affiliate will premier its latest news anchor next week – Lauren Jones, an actress, bikini model and former World Wrestling Entertainment wrestler with no journalism training or experience.

While Hurley admits his decision to hire Jones will attract criticism, he sees it as a smart business move.

“We think this will accelerate our growth and that people will see this as entrepreneurial,” he told the Longview, Texas, News-Journal.

Jones’ 30-day contract is a tie-in with the new Fox reality show, “Anchorwoman”, scheduled to broadcast in August.

Fox is paying KYTX to film the five-episode “comedy/reality hybrid” in its studios. KYTX news ranks behind the regional leader, KLTV.

“It’s not about the money,” Hurley said. “We want our newscast to grow.”


“Anchorwoman” is the brainchild of its creator and executive producer, Brian Gadinsky, who has played similar roles with “American Idol,” “Mr. Personality,” and “America’s Most Wanted.”

Fox promotes the show on its website:

Phil Hurley is the owner of a middle-market Texas news station, KYTX Channel 19. Desperate to turn the tide of his news rating woes and compete with the longtime ratings giant, Phil has shocked the station and town of Tyler, Texas, by bringing in a gorgeous model and ex-WWE diva with no previous news experience to be his next anchorwoman – all in hopes of reinventing the look of Channel 19 and overhauling its below-average 6 share to a number more like his competitor’s 36.

Former Miss New York and ?ber-vixen Lauren Jones packs up her Versace dresses and heads to Tyler, Texas, to start a new career. Can this bombshell make it as a serious reporter? Will she save KYTX, or make it the laughingstock of the Lone Star State? Lauren wants to show everyone she’s no airhead, and this is her big chance to prove she’s more than just a pretty face.

The entire newsroom thinks the boss has made a giant mistake. Reigning anchor Annalisa Petraglia is not about to lose her queen bee status to some L.A. hottie. News director Dan Delgado is fit to be tied as his beloved journalistic standards go out the window. Michele Reese, a hard-nosed reporter bound for CNN, will take no prisoners. Lauren has a big job in front of her as she struggles with her news team and an unfamiliar town.

How will it all turn out? Only the ratings will tell, so stay tuned for the next “Anchorwoman”: Lauren Jones.

Hurley confirms the hype, saying some of his employees were apprehensive about the reality show at first, but after seeing the publicity, “they realized that it could help their own careers.”

As WND reported, bikinis and newscasting seem to go together at Fox.

Fox News Channel, frequently criticized for focusing on glitz and sex, hired swimsuit model and host of “World Poker Tour” as a substitute anchor and host of “Fox & Friends Weekend.”

Fox’s Jane Francis told the entertainment trade paper Variety the show had mapped out a basic storyline and a wish list for camera scenes, but beyond that, she wants the action to be as spontaneous as possible.

“We agreed internally that we don’t want to rig anything, or overproduce it,” Francis says.

“Anchorwoman” director Mark Jacobs is sold on Jones as the inexperienced novice suddenly thrust into the news environment.

“She is serious about this,” he said. “She wants to be the next Katie Couric.”

Having “the next Katie Couric” may not be enough to pull Hurley’s ratings out of the toilet.

According to Media Life Magazine, CBS’ “Evening News with Katie Couric” was third for the week ending June 3, with another all-time low of 5.50 million total viewers. ABC’s “World News with Charles Gibson” was No. 1 among total viewers for the sixth straight week with an average of 7.86 million tuning in.


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