Natalie Pasquarella will continue as sole anchor with meteorologist Steve Udelson.
News director Julie Szulczewski said Thursday the expansion was not driven by competition with Fox-owned WJZY (Channel 46), which is planning to launch an hour-long 10 p.m. newscast in January. Construction is under way at WJZY for a new studio and a news staff is being hired. WJZY now carries a 30-minute newscast at 10 p.m. provided by WBTV (Channel 3) and anchored by Molly Grantham.
Szulczewski said station research conducted in the spring of this year indicated there would be an audience and desire for an expanded newscast. Executives have been talking about it since March but were waiting until other projects were finished, like the months-long renovation of the station's newsroom, which is now complete.
There will be no change in format for the show, she said. On weekends, the 10 p.m. newscast will continue with its half-hour length.