There you are, curled up in the friendly warm glow of the television at the end of a long day, ready to enjoy another classic episode of "Star Trek: The Next Generation." But wait a minute . . . instead of Jean Luc Picard, you're staring at fresh-faced anchor people! What's going on?
Starting sometime next week, Captain Picard and the rest of the "Star Trek: The Next Generation" crew will relinquish their 10 p.m. slot to make way for KCPQ-TV's new 35-minute news broadcast, which will run Sundays through Thursdays. The latest addition to the local television news arena originally scheduled its maiden voyage for this Sunday, but a few technical difficulties forced them to push back their launch.
"We're just dealing with so much cutting-edge technology that we purposely did not set or promote a date for us to come on," said KCPQ-TV general manager Roger Ottenbach. "I don't know if we'll be ready Sunday night, Monday night or Tuesday night, but whenever we're ready, we're going to go."
But before they can deliver the news, KCPQ-TV wants to work out the kinks and have backup technology in place in case of the inevitable computer system crash.
KCPQ-TV's only competition in the 10 p.m. news broadcast slot is KSTW-TV. But the UPN affiliate won't be able to benefit from strong weeknight lead-in programming such as "Ally McBeal" and "Party of Five."
Following the lead of Fox news broadcasts in other markets, KCPQ-TV's news will attempt to attract younger viewers without alienating older viewers, who constitute the majority of news consumers. Local news coverage will focus on technology, lifestyle and environmental issues. The average age of the newscasters, Ottenbach estimated, is around 27. The news director is 28. "That doesn't mean they are freshmen at doing news," Ottenbach said. "They are very, very good news people."
The show will be anchored by Leslie Miller, of Edmonton, Alberta, and Scott Engler, formerly of CNN in Atlanta. Weather will be handled by Jim Castillo, from the Fox affiliate in Philadelphia.
As for you Trekkers, don't worry. Your favorite show will come on an hour later, at 11 p.m.