In this episode of the “Pittsburgh Pop” podcast, host Tim Benz and TV Talk columnist Rob Owen discuss Pittsburgh pop culture news of the moment, including a new Mister Rogers tribute song and video released last week by actress/singer Kate Micucci. The video features illustrations of Rogers and Mr. McFeely (David Newell) and sweet lyrics of appreciation, including, “So long old friend/Til we meet again/I liked you/Right from the start.”

Owen and Benz discuss the departure of Royce Jones from KDKA-TV. Owen wonders if Jones’ contract was not renewed given the terse, two-sentence memo from the news director. Owen speculates that perhaps to station executives it made sense to have a younger person anchor the 10 p.m. news when Channel 19 was an affiliate of younger-skewing The CW and it may make less sense to station executives now that Channel 19 is an independent station with the much older-skewing “48 Hours” as the 10 p.m. newscast lead-in. Of course, one could simply re-assign an anchor/reporter in the case of a mismatch and Jones’ departure leaves KDKA open to criticism for a noticeable lack of diversity among its remaining roster of news reporters and news anchors.

Benz offer his reaction to the season three premiere of “The Morning Show” on Apple TV+ and the cancellation of HBO’s “Winning Time” after a downer season finale.

The pair discuss the Disneyfication of an upcoming NFL game on Disney+. For the Oct. 1 (9:30 a.m.) Atlanta Falcons vs. Jacksonville Jaguars game from Wembley Stadium in London, Disney+ will deliver an alternate telecast that features real-time coverage using characters from “Toy Story” in a fully animated rendering of the game. Animated versions of play-by-play announcer Drew Carter and analyst Booger McFarland will be joined by an animated 12-year-old Pepper Persley as reporter.

Listen to Pittsburgh Pop on the TRIBLive Podcast Network or on iTunes.

You can reach TV writer Rob Owen at or 412-380-8559. Follow @RobOwenTV on Threads, Twitter, Bluesky and Facebook. Ask TV questions by email or phone. Please include your first name and location.

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