Officials with the Bravo cable TV network confirmed today that host-with-the-most Andy Cohen and his “Watch What Happens Live” show won’t be returning to South by Southwest this year.
In 2013 and again in 2014, the show originated from Austin, bringing buzzy celebrities to the city and giving Central Texas global exposure on Bravo.
The network didn’t provide a reason why “Watch What Happens Live” isn’t bound for SXSW, but it’s not all that surprising. A number of other high-profile events have also pulled out this year, including the iTunes Festival at the Austin City Limits Live venue and that ginormous Doritos-vending-machine-turned-stage near the Austin Convention Center.
The city is issuing fewer permits this year – in part, a response to last year’s SXSW tragedy that left several people dead after a man plowed a car into a crowd of festival-goers. That incident led many to question whether the festival had gotten too big for Austin.
While Bravo won’t be here this SXSW, ABC still will. “Jimmy Kimmel Live” is set to originate from the Long Center for the Performing Arts March 16-20.
Steele will also be a part of the new “KEYE-TV Morning News,” delivering weather forecasts. He most recently served as the station’s weekend meteorologist, a spot he’s held since 2012.
Ellison joined KEYE in December, and has been a regular “We Are Austin” contributor. Before that, she filed entertainment reports for local CW affiliate KNVA.
“The addition of Taylor and Jordan to ‘We Are Austin’ brings another group of talented hosts to our morning block,” said KEYE vice president and general manager Amy Villarreal. “The combination of their dynamic personalities along with their passion and love for Austin will make for a great show.”
A company looking for the next big “As Seen On TV” hit will be in Austin Wednesday.
Top Dog Direct will hold a “speed pitch” event at the Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum, 1800 Congress Ave., from 9 a.m. to noon.
The company’s long list of products includes Tan Perfect, Urine Gone, Smart Mop and the BeActive Brace, among others.
To have a shot at pitching your creation, you must be pre-screened. Start the process by sending an email to email@example.com that includes your name, address, phone number, the name of your invention, a description of your invention and your website, if you have one.
Miller also serves as the CBS affiliate’s morning meteorologist, but with her move to the anchor desk weekend meteorologist Jordan Steele will be taking over those duties.
Ericka Miller, the station’s current morning co-anchor, will remain on that broadcast, but take on a new role as the “Happening Now” anchor, handling breaking news and monitoring developing stories.
Hunter Ellis, the station’s other morning anchor, departed in December to focus on making documentaries. Reporter Alex Boyer had been filling in.
Ashley Roberts will continue to serve as traffic anchor while the station looks for a permanent replacement for Erica Brennes, who left earlier this month to take a job with tech startup RideScout.
When “KEYE-TV Morning News” relaunches, the station said it hopes to inject more personality into the broadcast, along with a stronger emphasis on social media.
“We’ll give our viewers what they need in the morning – news, traffic, weather – while adding bursts of what they want – more personality and opportunities to allow viewers to welcome us into their homes,” news director Rob Cartwright said.
When it comes to radio news, Austin station 90.5 KUT-FM aims to set the “Standard” with its latest program.
The show, “Texas Standard” makes its official debut Monday, running at 10 a.m. weekdays. It has, over the past few weeks, been airing sporadically as the NPR affiliate worked to beef up its news team and build out its studios on the University of Texas campus.
For now, it will be heard only in Austin, although it’ll go statewide in a few weeks, airing in a number of cities such as Dallas and Houston.
“We’ve known for a while now that we wanted to create a signature program for KUT that demonstrates the role public radio plays in civic discourse,” said Stewart Vanderwilt, general manager of KUT and sister station 98.9 KUTX-FM.
“So much of the news, no matter where it’s taking place, has a direct intersection with Texas. With ‘Texas Standard,’ we’re taking the top news events around the world and identifying their connections to Texas.”
About 10 KUT employees work almost exclusively on the show, Vanderwilt said, and “Texas Standard” will also pull some material from its affiliate stations.
Those stations are “kind of at their maximum news output right now,” said KUT veteran David Brown, who serves as host and managing editor for the show. “This allows us to share content and create a de-facto network. We have people telling us that, for the first time, listeners in their market will feel like they’re connected to the rest of Texas.”
Before joining the “Texas Standard” team, Brown worked on KUT’s “Texas Music Matters.” He says he sought out the host job more than a year ago while plans for the show were still in their infancy.
“There’s nothing like this being done on public radio right now,” Brown said. “We’re building a program from scratch that has tremendous potential.”
While KUT has produced local news programming for years, Vanderwilt said “Texas Standard” is, by design, a different animal that’s far more labor-intensive. That’s why the station didn’t immediately start off with daily broadcasts.
“We had several train wrecks,” he admitted. “They were really important to have, to show us where the needs are, because once the show starts, it never stops.”
With those kinks now addressed, Vanderwilt said Brown and his team are more than ready and it’s time for daily broadcasts to begin.
For a self-described “music fiend,” Brown said leaving “Texas Music Matters” was a difficult decision, but he’s confident he made the right choice.
“I love ‘Texas Music Matters,’” he said. “I’ve never worked on a show that’s won so many awards. But I got my start in news more than three decades ago. News has always been in my blood. It’s my bread and butter.”