THE 10 O'CLOCK NEWS
March 13, 1967 - July 5, 1968 (Half Hour)
July 8, 1968 - February 23, 1979 (One Hour)
On March 13, 1967 Channel 5 launched the first prime time newscast in the tri-state area, just a few months after sister station WTTG in Washington D.C. became the first station in the United States with one. Since then, a lot has changed but there are still a few constants like the seemingly eternal question, “It’s 10 p.m. Do you know where your children are?”
In 1967, channel 5, then called WNEW-TV, had been an independent television station for eleven years since the disbanding of the DuMont Network where it was the flagship station. The station was owned by Metromedia, which obtained the majority of the network’s assets, including the DuMont Tele-centre on East 67th Street that served as the home for channel 5.
Metromedia tapped Bill Jorgensen, a reporter for WEWS in Cleveland to anchor the newscast in either Washington or New York. Jorgensen decided on New York after he had heard some in the industry say that the news couldn’t compete against entertainment programming. In the newscast’s first year, it was competing against programs from the networks such as The Big Valley, The Carol Burnett Show, The Dean Martin Show and I Spy. The neigh sayers were proven wrong and the plucky little newscast without all the resources of a big network behind it did quite well against the entertainment competition and quickly expanded from a half hour to an hour.
In December of 1969 John Roland joined the station and a little less than ten years later became Jorgensen’s successor after he moved over to WPIX in 1979. When Roland took over the anchor chair, WPIX’s Action News (later Independent Network News) offered the only 10 p.m. competition for news in the city. In other parts of the country 10 p.m. newscasts were popping up on independent stations after seeing the success in New York.
Bill Jorgensen was the founding and longtime anchor of New York City's FIRST PRIME TIME ONE HOUR WEEKLY NEWS BROADCAST premiering format on July 8, 1968. It began as a half hour News Broadcast anchored by Bill Jorgensen on March 13, 1967.
When WNEW-TV began producing 10 O'CLOCK NEWS with Bill Jorgensen at the helm, no other commercial television stations had a prime time newscast. The New York Times television critic Jack Gould described the newscast as "a thoroughly professional news summary" due in part to "Mr. Jorgensen's durably pleasing style and demeanor. He suggests authority without affectation."
The 10 O'CLOCK NEWS on WNEW TV followed a talk show hosted by Merv Griffin and was followed by a local talk show hosted by Alan Burke, and then followed with The Les Crane Show when The 10'Oclock News was a half hour broadcast. This line-up rapidly built a substantial audience.
After a twelve year successful run Bill Jorgensen left WNEW and The 10'OClock News and was succeeded at by John Roland, who anchored his first broadcast on March 14, 1979. Jorgensen who quit after his Feb. 23, broadcast left the newscast without an official anchor replacement for two and half weeks. Roland who had previously been a featured reporter and co-anchor became the new anchor.
Bill Jorgensen's signature signoff was "I'm Bill Jorgensen, thanking you for your time this time 'till next time."
NOTE: Bill Jorgensen had it written into his contract at WNEW that he was the only one who could use a TelePrompTer, and this meant that when he was debriefing a reporter on set, the reporter would have to constantly look at his notes. By contract, Jorgensen would always look steadily into the camera, projecting an air of power and confidence. He warred bitterly with station management, including Ted Kavanau, then news director, who says Jorgensen "was a difficult guy, very moody, hardly talked to anybody, but when you turned on that camera, he performed brilliantly. He had a voice that was like fate reaching out to you."
ON THIS BROADCAST:
Women commemorate the 50th anniversary of the adoption of the 19th amendment, which granted suffrage to women.
An in depth ten minute report leads off this news broadcast.
Women march and demonstrate all over New York City advocating equality. They picket a multitude of sights. Women's power are on display representing 100 million females in the USA.
In an on location report, women take over radio station WBAB, demanding their voice be heard. Interviews and comments are heard.
Also, demonstrations are covered in Times Square, Bryant Park, Washington D.C. and Boston Massachusetts.
In other news, Palestine crisis, Israeli crisis addressed at UN,
Vice President Spiro Agnew's trip in the East, latest Viet Nam statistics, American marine John Sweeney asks for asylum in Sweden. His family is interviewed, NYC hippies battle police, Nigerian execution of three enemies of the country, Narcotic raids in NYC, Manson case horrors of killings described in court, Black Panther trial, search for wanted criminal Angela Davis, British Airways fire at Kennedy Airport, increasing amount of guns being stored by college students.
Rona Barrett reviews new TV programs scheduled to debut and return to television in the Fall 1970 season.
NO KNOWN BROADCASTS OR EVEN EXCERPTS OF "10 O'CLOCK NEWS
WITH BILL JORGENSEN" EXISTS OR IS ARCHIVED AT THE LIBRARY
OF CONGRESS, UCLA FILM & TV ARCHIVE, PALEY CENTER FOR
MEDIA, VANDERBILT UNIVERSITY NEWS ARCHIVE, OR THE ARCHIVES
OF WNEW METROMEDIA. ONE ENDING OF THE PROGRAM AND CREDITS
CAN BE FOUND ON YOU TUBE (62 SECONDS).