WGNO Debuts Unconventional ‘News with a Twist’

By Andrew Gauthier 

“A show unlike any in the Crescent City,” LeBron “LBJ” Joseph said, in introducing the debut broadcast of WGNO‘s “News with a Twist.”

“We haven’t quite figured it out ourselves yet,” said LBJ’s co-host, Susan Roesgen. “It’s a little bit of this, a little bit of that; little bit of news, a little bit of commentary. Spicy, sassy, sweet–kind of like New Orleans is.”

The ABC-affiliate unveiled its new show on Monday with Joseph and Roesgen giving New Orleans a taste of what to expect every weekday at 6:00 p.m. While the setting and tenor are different than a conventional newscast, the pair still serve essentially as anchors, just with the studio desk swapped for an intensely decorated barroom.


What seems to set “News with a Twist” apart the most from other newscasts is that it compiles its news segments not necessarily according to what’s happening but according to what people are talking about.

“Most people know the news by 6,” Roesgen told The Times-Picayune recently. “You can’t sit there and say, ‘Good evening,’ ‘Good evening’ [and do] … the same traditional start with the City Council meeting because that’s important, then go to crime because it’s everywhere. We expect to do whatever people are talking about.”

Monday’s “News with a Twist” was built around branded segments, including an investigative series with reporter Curt Sprang titled “Sprang Into Action” and a crime blotter run-down titled, well, “Crime Blotter.”

The “News with a View” segment presented the “little bit of commentary” that Roesgen mentioned at the show’s beginning . Wearing jeans and sitting on a flight of stars in the show’s funky studio, Kaare Johnson (left) of talk radio station WIST criticized the public support that former Louisiana Governor, and convicted felon, Edwin Edwards has received as he finishes a 10-year prison sentence. “I can’t name any of Edwards’ [accomplishments] and neither can you,” Johnson told viewers, pointedly. Johnson will offer his “News with a View” every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.

“It’s developed into something really cool,” Johnson recently said of the news show. “I certainly welcome the opportunity to work in a different vehicle.”