Briefs: WSB broadcast name change; OWN’s ‘Ambitions’ canceled; NatGeo doc features five Atlanta WWII vets

WSB-TV last month changed the name of its 11 p.m. newscast for the first time in decades: “WSB Tonight.”

The weekday 11 p.m. newscast, anchored by Jovita Moore and Jorge Estevez, is currently super-focused on the coronavirus pandemic. Based on Tuesday night’s newscast, there are fewer stories than a typical 11 p.m. show and less time for weather. 

The concept is to look “at the big local stories of the day, offering more context and depth than the ‘Nightbeat,’” according to Sean Garcia, WSB director of marketing. 

That newscast has been called “Channel 2 Action News Nightbeat” at least since the early 1990s.

The “Nightbeat” name is not dead. It continues to be used on the weekends, Garcia said. 

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OWN canceled the Atlanta-based political drama “Ambitions” after one season earlier this year. 

[I missed the news completely and just noticed now. Sorry!]

The show, which starred Brian J. White as the philandering Atlanta mayor and Robin Givens as his tough-as-nails attorney wife, aired 18 episodes year following OWN’s top-rated Tyler Perry soap “The Haves and the Have Notes.” Essence Atkins also starred in the series, which was shot at Tyler Perry Studios. 

But the drama did not connect with the OWN audience and ratings were modest. The final episode aired in December, 2019. 

This series was Atlanta producer Will Packer’s first foray into TV scripted drama. He is famous for his comedic films “Ride Along,” “Think Like a Man” and “Girls Trip,” among others. 

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Photo: Morton Waitzman, a WWII vet in the upcoming NatGeo doc “Voices from the Front”

NatGeo is airing a 44-minute documentary commemorating the 75th anniversary of the end of World War II in Europe on May 21 featuring five Atlantans.

“World War II in Europe: Voices from the Front” will air Thursday, May 21 at 8 p.m. 

Producers interviewed World War II veterans in Detroit; Atlanta; Moscow; St. Petersburg, Russia; Berlin, and London. Five Georgia World War II veterans, all members of the Atlanta World War II Round Table, will be among those representing the Americans. NatGeo assistant producer Bethany Jones, in a press release, described Atlanta as “the goldmine for living World War II veterans.” 

The five Atlantans in the doc are Dachau liberator Hilbert Margol of Dunwoody, B-24 crewman Frank “Burt” Vardeman of Atlanta, Omaha Beach veteran Morton Waitzman of Atlanta, Battle of the Bulge veteran Clayton Byrd of Dunwoody, and Iwo Jima Marine Bill Montgomery of Decatur representing Americans still fighting the Japanese in the Pacific at the time of Nazi Germany’s surrender.

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Home Depot co-founder Bernie Marcus in his office at The Marcus Foundation in Atlanta in June. An online campaign #BoycottHomeDepot gained steam in July after Marcus said he would contribute to President Donald Trump’s 2020 re-election campaign, angering Trump critics. Georgia Democrats joined forces with Trump to defend Home Depot and Marcus. HYOSUB SHIN / HSHIN@AJC.COM
Photo: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Former Home Depot co-founders Bernie Marcus and Ken Langone will appear on Fox Business at 1 p.m Thursday. in the third installment of the network’s town hall series.

Neil Cavuto will host and the two business executives will offer their insights on the state of the economy as the country starts to lift restrictions and take viewer questions about unemployment, small business and the future of business in America. 

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About the Author

Rodney Ho
Rodney Ho
Rodney Ho covers radio and television for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
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