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On the Franklin Scale, Give Him a Channel 7

Times Staff Writer

On a scale of 1 to 10, Gary Franklin is now at 7. The KCBS Hollywood correspondent is moving to KABC-TV, Channel 7, as of Monday.

Franklin and spokesmen for KCBS-TV Channel 2 on Friday confirmed his departure but declined to comment on his future plans. However, John Corcoran, KABC’s current entertainment reporter, confirmed that he is being replaced by Franklin.

KCBS, meanwhile, already is considering some candidates for Franklin’s job, station spokeswoman Andi Sporkin said.

Franklin cited more money, more air time and the need for “a little adventurism” as his reasons for making the move. He said he was approached about the new position two weeks ago. He then retained an agent to renegotiate his KCBS contract, which Sporkin said had an option for three more years.

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The Franklin Scale

Yet to be decided is the fate of his well-known “Franklin Scale,” an age-old 1-to-10 ratings device Franklin made his own with his distinctive mannerisms. Franklin said he assumed that he could use the scale in his new position, “but I haven’t discussed it with anybody.”

Franklin said he left KCBS under amicable conditions. According to Sporkin, the official comment from station management was, “We wish him well.”

Franklin noted, however, that the brevity of his on-air time at KCBS “to me is the most important thing that has been the bone of contention.” His movie, TV and theater reviews and entertainment industry reports, once featured on the 5 p.m. and 11 p.m. newscasts, for the last six months have been seen mainly on the 6 p.m. news and “as often as possible on the 11,” he said.

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His reports frequently were trimmed and on occasion did not air due to time constraints, a constant consideration for everyone in broadcast news.

Praises Support

But Franklin praised KCBS for not restricting the content of his critiques. He often praised NBC shows and panned those on CBS, which owns KCBS-TV, but if producers complained to the network, “the local station always said, ‘Leave Gary alone.’ ”

A longtime night-beat radio reporter for KFWB, Franklin, who says he is in his mid-50s, rose to local stardom over the last five years at KCBS. His balding head and rapid-fire delivery of his trademark scale, which some found annoying and others entertaining, became fixtures on the evening news and are frequently mimicked.

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“The reality of it is, wherever I go, people recognize me,” Franklin said Friday. “I’m still getting used to it.”

Franklin’s final report for KCBS is scheduled for Sunday’s 6 p.m. newscast. He will officially join the KABC payroll Monday, but he may not appear on camera until next week. The future of his twice-daily entertainment reports on CBS-owned radio station KNX, he said, is “a question that has to be settled next week.”

Corcoran said he learned that he was being replaced Thursday, just moments after the newscast. In accordance with his contract, he will continue to be paid until September.


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