Briefs: Gray hires Peachtree TV station manager; Capital B News launches; Charles Barkley ponders leaving ‘Inside the NBA’

Gray is giving Peachtree TV its own station manager, Micheal Smith. Previously, the CBS46 station manager also oversaw Peachtree TV. GRAY TELEVISION



Gray is giving Peachtree TV its own station manager, Micheal Smith. Previously, the CBS46 station manager also oversaw Peachtree TV. GRAY TELEVISION

Atlanta-based Gray Television, which purchased CBS46 and Peachtree TV in December, is planning to create far more original local content for Peachtree TV.

A sign of that investment: Gray named marketing manager Micheal Smith to be Peachtree TV’s station manager.

Under previous owner Meredith, a station manager oversaw both CBS46 and Peachtree TV.

“We are looking to make Peachtree TV a place where you find entertainment, lifestyle, and local sports programming that is produced by and for the people of Atlanta,” Smith said in a press release. “Our goal is to create local programming that has meaning and a positive impact on our community.”

Most of Peachtree TV’s current lineup consists of classic sitcoms like “Seinfeld,” “The King of Queens,” “black-ish” and “Modern Family,” syndicated news programs like “Inside Edition” and “People,” syndicated talk shows like “The Nick Cannon Show” and “The Rachael Ray Show” and judge shows such as “The Verdict With Judge Hatchett,” “Divorce Court” and “Justice With Judge Mablean.”

The network also provides some local content including Stephen “Steak” Shapiro’s “Daily Eats” at 9 a.m. weekdays and a local news telecast from its sister station CBS46 at 9 p.m.

Hilton Howell, CEO of Gray, last week told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution that Peachtree TV is “not going to sit around being a syndicated network for long.” He has ambitious plans to add more quality local programming to the lineup.

The first Monica Pearson interview special called “Monica Pearson One on One” is set to air on Sunday, Feb. 27 at 8 p.m.

Pearson is planning a second chat show later in the year modeled after her former Georgia Public Broadcasting show “A Seat at the Table.”

Smith joined CBS46 and Peachtree TV in 2015 as a marketing manager. He previously worked at Hot 97.5 (now Hot 107.9) and Fox 5.

Peachtree TV, as a local broadcast station, is a vestige of the TBS SuperStation Ted Turner started in the 1970s.

Turner purchased the Atlanta Braves in 1976 and began airing the games, as well as wrestling, old movies and repeats of shows such as “Green Acres” and “The Andy Griffith Show.” It was a tough road but by 1981, the network was profitable and helped sustain the nascent Cable News Network. The network nationwide helped propel the Braves to become “America’s team.”

Over the years TBS aired thousands of movies, cartoons, classic sitcoms and dramas and wrestling matches galore. After Time Warner purchased Turner in 1996, TBS began moving to a more traditional cable network model, dropping cartoons and airing fewer Braves games. In 2003, the network shifted entirely to comedies such as “Friends,” “Home Improvement” and “Seinfeld,” dropping dramas such as “Little House on the Prairie.” The new slogan: “Very Funny.”

In 2007, TBS was split into two entities: the national TBS cable network and Peachtree TV (WPCH-TV) as the metro Atlanta network.

Four years later, Turner handed off the day-to-day operations of Peachtree TV to Meredith Corp. in a lease agreement. Meredith purchased the station outright in 2017.


Gavin Godfrey is overseeing the Atlanta office for Capital B News.


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A new non-profit news operation for Black readers has debuted in Atlanta called Capital B News with a national hub and its first local newsroom focused on Atlanta.

The idea is a combination of deeply reported investigative pieces and practical stories.

“Black Atlantans need more resources to understand the city and be heard,” said Gavin Godfrey, a former Creative Loafing writer and CNN producer who is now editor of Capital B Atlanta. He was most recently a senior writer at MailChimp.

Co-founders Akoto Ofori-Atta and Lauren Williams said they knew an advertiser-supported model wasn’t going to work for the type of journalism they want to do. Instead, Capital B is a 501c(3) nonprofit. In their mission statement, the founders said “the revenue model is a diverse one that includes philanthropic funding from foundations, individuals, corporations, and members, as well as ads and sponsorships.”

So far, the company has raised $9 million.

“We can really dedicate ourselves to quality stories and not be so concerned with hits or feeding the news beast,” Godfrey said.

He said they have started with a community engagement editor and two reporters, one general assignment and the other focused on health. He said the Atlanta operation has two more reporting jobs open, one to cover criminal justice and the other to cover politics.

Capital B has a partnership with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution with each organization sharing content. The current Capital B Atlanta home page features a story about Stacey Abrams, the issues around gentrification in Peoplestown and crime issues at the Atlanta University Center.


Charles Barkley commentates from the booth during The Match: Champions For Charity at Medalist Golf Club, on May 24, 2020 in Hobe Sound, Fla. (Cliff Hawkins/Getty Images for The Match/TNS)

Credit: TNS

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Credit: TNS

Charles Barkley, who has been part of Atlanta-based TNT’s “Inside the NBA” for 22 years, is pondering retirement from the long-running program.

“It’s been a great, great thing,” he said during a press conference earlier this week. “I love Ernie, Kenny, Shaq and everybody we work with. But I just don’t feel the need to work until the day I die. I don’t, man. I’ll be 61 years old if I finish out my contract.”

Barkley, who is currently 58 years old, has been a key reason why “Inside the NBA” has worked over the years, so if he does choose to leave it will mark a major change for the program.

Barkley will join Ernie Johnson, Shaquille O’Neal and Kenny Smith on Sunday for a special “Inside the All-Star Game.” The alternate broadcast will air on TBS while TNT will have the traditional feed featuring Kevin Harlan, Reggie Miller and Dwyane Wade.