PORTLAND — Portland’s TV viewers will have three 5 p.m. newscasts to choose from, beginning Sept. 9.

The city’s ABC affiliate, WMTW (Ch. 8), will launch an hour-long newscast at 5 p.m. on weekdays. The city’s other TV stations that produce local news, WCSH (Ch. 6) and WGME (Ch. 13), already have 5 p.m. newscasts.

WMTW’s 5 p.m. newscast will feature anchor Tracy Sabol and meteorologist Roger Griswold, said Dave Abel, the station’s president. Sabol and Griswold will also work on the station’s 6 p.m. news.
Abel said the station hopes to announce a male anchor soon who will share anchor duties with Sabol between 5 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. on weekdays.

WMTW, which is usually third-rated among TV news stations, last had a 5 p.m. news program in 2003.

Abel said the 5 p.m. newscast is being added partly because viewers have asked for more afternoon news over the years, and partly because the station’s 4 p.m. syndicated “Ellen DeGeneres Show” has proven to be a good lead in for 5 p.m. newscasts in other parts of the country.

The station has been airing “Dr. Phil” at 5 p.m. and will move that show to 3 p.m., Abel said. The 3 p.m. slot has been held by “The Ricki Lake Show” which has been canceled.

WMTW upset some viewers in June when it fired popular morning news anchor Shannon Moss, after six years. Abel would not comment on Moss’ departure, but Moss said she was told by station officials that “viewers weren’t responding to me.”

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