TV-55 isn’t just Judge Judy.
Since CBS completed its acquisition of Melville-based WLNY-TV March 30, it has packed the Long Island TV station with more robust programming, including three hours of news each weekday, managers said at a Press Club of Long Island panel Thursday.
Longtime TV-55 newsman Richard Rose, now Long Island bureau chief, said the partnership with CBS coincided with the brush fires that burned through eastern Suffolk in April, offering a glimpse of the extra reporting muscle that can be brought to bear locally.
“TV-55 has been a unique resource for Long Island,” Rose told the audience at Farmingdale State College. “It’s a new direction with a legendary partner. The opportunities are endless.”
The news truck points to the station’s dual identity: One side is branded CBS-2 while the other WLNY 10/55.
What it affords Long Islanders is another local option, deepening a field that includes News 12 and FiOS1. And as David Friend, Senior VP News at CBS, noted of rival New York-based newscasts: “We have three people here where the other guys have one or none.”
Station Manager Betty Ellen Berlamino said TV-55 upgraded equipment and now broadcasts in HD. It was picked up by cable giant Comcast. TV-55 invested in content, buying exclusive syndication rights to three new shows: 2 Broke Girls, Mike & Molly and Hot In Cleveland.
The station also expanded its news quotient from 30 minutes to three hours, highlighted by an hour-long 9 p.m. broadcast.
“We’re the only newscast at 9 o’clock,” Berlamino said. “We chose to give the viewers another option.”
The 9 p.m. timeslot features local, regional and national news. The shift also saw TV-55 dump the paid programming that dominated the 5 a.m. to 2 p.m. slots.
“Nothing influences communities more than local news,” Friend said of the move to acquire TV-55.
Berlamino called the programming makeover – which still includes Judge Judy – a ratings success, but declined to give specifics.
“Our goal is to have more marketing, more eyeballs, more viewers,” Berlamino said. “Our goal is to say we’re here and we have so much more to offer than previously.”