To compete in local news arms race, KCAL expands to 7 hours of morning TV

Side-by-side portraits of two smiling women, both with long brown hair
Award-winning journalists Rudabeh Shahbazi, left, and Kalyna Astrinos have been named anchors of the local morning news franchise that is expected to launch in December on KCAL-TV and the CBS News Los Angeles streaming channel.
(CBS Television Stations)

KCAL-TV, the only local station with a three-hour prime-time news block, is launching a morning news franchise that will air on the station and the CBS News Los Angeles streaming channel.

Rudabeh Shahbazi, who was an anchor and national correspondent at the Chicago-based NewsNation cable news network, and Kalyna Astrinos, a morning anchor at KTNV-TV in Las Vegas, have been named anchors of the weekday telecast. Shahbazi will join current anchor Jamie Yuccas to helm the 7 to 10 a.m. portion of KCAL’s planned seven-hour, 4 to 11 a.m. block. Astrinos will anchor KCAL’s 4 to 4:30 a.m. newscast and serve as the station’s morning traffic anchor.

Both new anchors are veterans of Los Angeles newscasts. Shahbazi was a reporter and substitute anchor at KABC-TV from 2011-15. Astrinos worked as a traffic anchor for KABC-TV and local radio stations from 2009-15.

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“KCAL has established itself as one of the most-watched and trusted local news stations in Southern California — primarily because of its nightly three-hour primetime newscasts that were a first-in-the-country experiment when they were launched in 1990 with an anchor team that included Jerry Dunphy and Pat Harvey,” Joel Vilmenay, president and general manager of CBS News and Stations’ local businesses in Los Angeles, said in a statement. “Now the time has come for another bold venture: the expansion of KCAL News to mornings.”

Coinciding with the December launch of KCAL’s morning newscasts, sister station KCBS-TV will begin airing live broadcasts of “CBS Mornings” from 4 to 6 a.m., while also continuing to carry the West Coast editions of the CBS News morning program from 7 to 9 a.m. KCAL’s morning news will air on both KCBS and KCAL from 6 to 7 a.m.