KNBC Los Angeles VP of Content Steve Lange didn’t last long in that role–by the LA Times‘ count, just 110 days, in fact. Times reporter James Rainey offers a look at–and not a few opinions about–the perils of NBC Local Media adding splashy in-house lifestyle programming to its content mix.
As KNBC’s “vice president, content,” Lange dished up news programs chock-full of celebrities, hot-looking young people and entertainment tie-ins, all the better if the segments promoted other NBC Universal properties.
While that approach pervades much of local television news these days, Lange pushed it with particular gusto, up to the time he stepped down Tuesday, ending a 110-day tenure that turned KNBC into one of the L.A.’s cheesiest news brands.
Rainey says Lange got in hot water after a Real Housewives of Orange County housewife was pressed into reporting duties for the station, with less than stellar results. A KNBC spokesperson said the station had not lived up to its “journalistic standards” in the episode, which saw Housewife Vicki Gunvalson question her pals about credit card rules and pass them off as legit “person on the street” interviews. (Real Housewives airs on Bravo, which is part of NBC, as is KNBC.)
KNBC said Lange’s departure was unrelated to the incident. A KNBC statement said Lange decided to return to his independent production company. “Although he has only been with us for a few months, we understand Steve’s decision and thank him for his many contributions to the ongoing evolution of KNBC,” read the statement.
NBC content guru Susan Tully is trekking from Dallas to Los Angeles to assist in the transition at KNBC.