Las Vegas Sun

October 21, 2014

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A new kind of local TV news show debuts

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Justin M. Bowen

Emily Gimmel, from left, Denise Spidle, Alex Adeyanju and Christine Killimayer are the cast of 702.tv, a twice-weekly local program featuring entertainment, sports and news coverage.

Beyond the Sun

The Greenspun media family is launching an alternative to traditional local TV news — a show its creators say is savvy, hip and fun, using elements drawn from the Web to provide coverage of entertainment, sports and news.

The show, known as 702.tv, is launching on a twice-weekly schedule, airing at 10:30 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays on Vegas TV, Cox Communications cable Channel 14. The program, whose title is also its Web address, will go to five days a week in the fall.

The Greenspun media family includes the Las Vegas Sun and Las Vegas Weekly. But the show isn’t the Sun newspaper or the Weekly magazine in video form.

“What if there were a local newscast that wasn’t about the latest accident on the 215 or the latest house fire?” said Rob Curley, president and editor of Greenspun Interactive. “What if it were fun and informative? That’s 702.tv.”

“If ‘The Daily Show,’ the Travel Channel, the Food Network and E! were to try to do a daily local show in Las Vegas, this is what it might look like,” Curley said.

The show will feature stories about interesting places to eat and air interviews with local artists and the celebrities who come through the city. 702.tv also will emphasize coverage of UNLV sports and of Ultimate Fighting Championship bouts and fighters.

“But it will also have news,” Curley said. “We’ll also tell you what the governor’s latest vetoes are in Carson City, doing it in a way that puts a smile on your face or makes you chuckle a little.”.

The 11-person staff has been working on test shows for several months.

The show’s anchors are Denise Spidle, who serves as host; Emily Gimmel, who covers entertainment; and Alex Adeyanju and Christine Killimayer, who cover sports. Gimmel also is featured on “Southern Belles: Louisville,” a reality TV series running on SOAPnet. Last week the show began documenting Gimmel’s work on 702.tv.

Spidle and Adeyanju came to Las Vegas from the Naples Daily News, where they helped start one of the first daily-newspaper-initiated video casts, Studio 55. They were joined by Ryan McAfee, former Studio 55 director, who now serves as 702.tv’s technical director/multimedia producer.

Trent Ogle, who had been the Sun’s videographer since August 2007, moved over to 702.tv’s staff last fall to be chief photographer.

Chris DeFranco, a veteran Las Vegas television producer and former creative services director at KLAS-TV, came on board in January as the show’s executive producer.

The lineup for the fall includes a half-hour weekly sports show that will include Sun columnists Ron Kantowski and Jeff Haney. Segments of the regular 702.tv show will feature Joe Brown, a Sun arts and entertainment reporter.

Although 702.tv is on TV, the show isn’t designed just for TV screens, Curley said.

It’s a production of Greenspun Interactive, the new media division of the Greenspun publishing family, which is responsible for the company’s award-winning Web sites, such as LasVegasSun.com and LasVegasWeekly.com.

Both of those Web sites received national online honors in May from Editor & Publisher and Mediaweek. LasVegasSun.com won EPpy Awards in its class as the best newspaper-affiliated Web site and for the best online news feature, the Sun’s history project. LasVegasWeekly.com was named best entertainment site.

The Sun also won an EPpy in 2008 as best newspaper-affiliated Web site in its class. And in October LasVegasSun.com won the Online News Association’s top honor, the general excellence award for medium-sized news sites.

Curley said 702.tv was being built around the same commitment to serving the community that the company’s current Web sites have, integrating Web elements into the show.

“702.tv is designed to work on multiple platforms,” he said. “You can watch it on local TV. You can go to the Web site and watch whatever segment you want. You can get it on YouTube. It works on your iPhone, and it works on devices like Apple TV.

“The show is completely reverse-engineered from the Web. All the segments are three- to four-minute Web clips that get edited down to go to TV.”