“Lightning Round” Needs Grounding

Speaking of news, however defined, the Tampa Bay TV market now has had a fortnight to size up the newest entry into the late evening sweepstakes, WTVT-Ch. 13’s NewsEDGE at 11. Early ratings are favorable for the local Fox station, which probably means enough viewers can never get enough frenetically-paced, tabloid-styled news. It is what it is. Mark Wilson presiding instead of Shephard Smith.

But one feature has no future. In a laudable effort to work commentary into the format, the station settled on a four-minute segment called “The Lightning Round.” It features Wilson, sportscaster Chip Carter, weatherman Paul Dellegatto and a community guest barely scratching the surface of three topics, which have ranged from the “happy holidays” controversy and domestic surveillance to a teenage sex survey and the licensing of strippers.

Wilson is personable and glib; the designated guest – ranging from a law professor to print journalists – adds presumptive heft; and Dellegatto and Carter are superfluous. Time, seemingly, is precious in the rapid-fire format and — then we’re privy to what the sports and weather guys think about licensing strippers in Hillsborough County.

This feature has to go. And Carter and Dellegatto should lead the lobbying.

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