Time’s Up for Lisa Mateo at WPIX

The versatile Lisa Mateo is leaving the station she’s called home for about two decades. TunedIn has learned WPIX and Mateo are parting ways. Her last day is Dec. 14.

Mateo, according to her PIX bio, started at Channel 11 in 2000 as a production assistant. She rose to on-air exposure, from traffic and weather duties to news anchoring and reporting. But she found her sweet spot covering features for several years on the morning show.

However, in recent weeks, news director Amy Waldman began moving in another direction, taking the popular personality off mornings, where she was a staple with viewers for at least 15 years.  Instead, she was put on the day shift, including weekends. Mateo refused comment to TunedIn on whether that impacted her decision to leave.

Her resume at Channel 11 has her reporting and producing for some of the most urgent stories, Superstorm Sandy and the 9/11 attacks among them.

Mateo spread her wings farther by hosting since 2012 Celebrity Taste Makers, where well-known guests discuss their passion for food and a recipe and/or eatery. She will continue as host once the show returns from hiatus.

Her work ethic isn’t just professional. She is such a strong advocate of personal conditioning that Mateo was appointed to the New Jersey Council of Physical Fitness and Sport by former governor Chris Christie.

There is no word on her future plans.

Heather Nauert Nomination as UN Ambassador “Reckless,” Says Former Colleague

The State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert is in line to become President Trump’s next U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations. However, the White House says the position will no longer be a cabinet post.

Nauert has no political or diplomat experience. She spent nearly two decades at Fox News, including a brief morning anchor stint at local affiliate WNYW.

A former Fox colleague tells TunedIn the feelings are mixed.

“She’s a very smart, responsible, capable woman and I really want her to blow the socks off every single critic.”

But her lack of experience is not something Nauert, 48, should to grow into.

“I cannot imagine a good outcome,” the former colleague admits.

Nikki Haley announced in September she was stepping down from the high-profile assignment. She came to the U.N. after two terms as South Carolina governor.

Before heading to Washington, Nauert was anchor on Fox and Friends.

“To expect a former TV host to easily segue into hammering out deals that have historic geopolitical significance is just flat out reckless,” the former colleague says.

The one-time colleague does expect Nauert will give 100 percent and do an incredible job if confirmed by Congress, but also thinks it’s a no-win situation.

“She is willingly being thrown into the lion’s den,” the former colleague says. “Many of these lions are bloodthirsty to see the U.S. fail.”

(Photo: Adweek)

Kevin Hart Out as Oscars Host; Who Should Get the Coveted Gig?

A firestorm took only 24 hours to topple Kevin Hart (left) as host of the Academy Awards. A string of anti-gay tweets resurfaced, putting Hart in an untenable position. He steps down to take the spotlight away from his vintage remarks about the LGBTQ community.

So, what happens next?

It was already a rather late announcement for the February awards telecast. Now the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has to go back to the drawing board.

Who should emcee the star-studded event in 2019? Well, looking at the Hart pick, does the Academy want the “hot community,” “funniest person in the world,” and/or someone of color?

If they want to maintain a black host, they could cross all the boxes and, someone in movies, with Tiffany Haddish. Having just done a movie with Hart, I’m sure she would have had a decent presence with him directing traffic at the Oscars.

Maybe she hasn’t paid her dues yet to reach the entertainment pinnacle— and that’s definitely a fair point.

How about Dave Chappelle (right)? He resurrected his career in a big way, even taking a small role in A Star is Born, and who could forget his killer set on Saturday Night Live, the weekend after Donald Trump was elected?

Some suggest it should be someone at ABC as self-promotion for the network running the broadcast. Yes, Jimmy Kimmel hosted the past two years, but it’s certainly not a prerequisite. There was a five-year stretch in the 1970s-80s where TV’s biggest star–Johnny Carson—was hired for the freelance gig, despite his deal with NBC.

Granted, there’s no Johnny sitting out there to make Oscar producers salivate. If they want to take a more political tack, Stephen Colbert could fit that role. He has plenty of hosting experience —Emmys and Kennedy Center Honors— but both at his home, CBS.

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It’s Official; Tribune Sells to Nexstar

The financial struggles for Tribune Media hit the final hurdle, as Nexstar Media agrees to purchase the Chicago based company.

Nexstar is acquiring Tribune for more than $4 billion in cash, making it the largest regional television operator in the country. Once adding debt to the mix, CNBC reports the value is worth $6.4 billion.

Nexstar is expected to pay $46.50 per share to complete the media sell-off.

This ends a difficult saga for Tribune, where just three months ago Sinclair Broadcasting had a nearly $4 billion pact in place, but regulatory minefields caused it to ultimately fall through.

The Nexstar deal is subject to approval by the Federal Communications Commission and needs a sign-off from Tribune shareholders.

The Irving, Texas, Nexstar is expected to take control of Tribune stations by the end of summer next year.

It remains to be seen how the takeover will impact programming and personnel at WPIX.

The Return of Chuck and Sue; Emmy Induction Ceremony

The nostalgia flows as Chuck Scarborough and Sue Simmons stand side by side. The venerable WNBC anchors receive special honors from the New York Emmys. Scarborough, a mainstay on Channel 4 since 1974, is inducted into the Gold Circle. His 32-year counterpart earning the Silver Circle status.

Simmons retired in 2012 after not having her contract renewed.

For Scarborough, it’s yet another on the mantel full of honors, already recognized by the Academy with the President’s Award for lifetime achievement.

“I feel blessed,” Scarborough tells TunedIn. “I feel very fortunate that I have been able to survive this long in this business. It’s a very competitive business.”

But Scarborough being in New York for 44 years–and counting–makes the historic feat even more amazing.

“[It’s] the most interesting, exciting, complicated, bedeviling, enchanting city in the world,” Scarborough, 75, says. “I’m humbled by that and it’s been such a pleasure.”

The blond is there, if only grayer locks around the margins. But the intensity and work ethic haven’t dissipated, as Scarborough focuses on just 6 p.m. Last year, Stefan Holt took the famous seat for the 11 p,m., pairing with Natalie Pasquerella.

“The second you meet him, you get the sense of how passionate he is about this,” Holt says. “Scarborough is such a nice person.”

However, there is more than just respect for the anchor great.

“It’s a privilege to be able to learn from him and to share the newsroom with him,” Holt says.

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Longtime Anchor Michele Marsh Dies at 63

Michele Marsh was a pleasant and competent anchor for years in New York. She died Tuesday of breast cancer at age 63.

Marsh was only 25 when she hit the big time, arriving at WCBS/Channel 2 in 1979. She sat with several colleagues during her 17-year career at WCBS, but viewers probably recall her and Rolland Smith most fondly.

“In the time we spent together as anchors we became good friends and confidants,” Smith tells TunedIn.

Smith occasionally spoke to her after his exit from WCBS. As for Marsh, she was abruptly let go as part of the infamous “Black Friday” mass firings in 1996.

John Johnson was also shown the door that autumn day. The duo would immediately turn to WNBC as anchor colleagues on a new noon broadcast.

“I am very distressed over Michele’s death,” Johnson tells me. “She was a true professional and an outstanding woman journalist in a field dominated by men.”

Johnson says she was terribly hurt how it ended at Channel 2 given her many years of service.

Other than a brief hiccup when Dave Marash was rehired and reteamed with Smith in the early 1980s, Marsh was on the late newscast until 1993, where she got to know Ernie Anastos.

He tweeted, “She was loved by so many, a top professional. I will miss my sweet friend.”

At Channel 4, Marsh also co-anchored the 6 p.m. with Chuck Scarborough.

“We liked one another and did some good work together,” Johnson recalls.

Marsh died surrounded by her family at her Connecticut home. She is survived by her husband, son John and daughter-in-law Anna.

The family is asking that a donation be made to The Breast Cancer Research Foundation in her memory.

“My personal life and my professional life was made so much richer for knowing her humor, her laughter, and her spirit,” Smith says.

Greg Kelly Out at Fox5; Lori Stokes Takes the ‘Good Day’ Seat

The long run for Greg Kelly as co-anchor of the successful Good Day New York is over. He’ll say goodbye with a tribute Friday, TunedIn has learned. Lori Stokes (below), the veteran morning anchor at Channel 7, is ready to grab the seat next to Rosanna Scotto, starting Wednesday.

But first, expect a tribute to Kelly before signing off Friday morning.

It’s not a complete shock as we speculated last month that Kelly was likely the “odd man out” with Stokes’ impending arrival.

The why is more complicated.

Kelly and Scotto were a ratings juggernaut, even eclipsing the network news programs on occasion. The popular duo were together for four years until a 2012 promotion landed Kelly as the WNYW lead evening anchor. But just six months later and Kelly is an asterisk to history, one of the worst anchor stints in New York history.

Kelly resumed the famed chemistry with Scotto in January 2013.

Despite that strong rapport, several people have said Kelly, the son of former NYPD Commissioner Raymond Kelly, isn’t liked by most people in the newsroom.

However, speculation has Kelly liked by at least one person–namely President Donald Trump— in whose administration he could find a position. Sources say Kelly often speaks positively about former Fox morning colleague Heather Nauert and her new role as State Department spokesperson. We’re told it’s actually changed Kelly’s demeanor to calm and happy, a departure from his usual difficult personality.

As for Stokes, leaving the top AM early news program in New York is also curious. But insiders say Stokes bailed on Eyewitness News because she was offered a new contract with a pay cut.

She surprised many last month with decision to leave Channel 7 after 17 years.

Morning Anchor Shakeup at WNYW/Channel 5

It starts with Sukanya Krishnan (left), the longtime WPIX morning host. There she was this week as co-anchor of the Channel 5/WNYW precursor to Good Day New York. She is teaming with Jennifer Lahmers, who is usually seen in the evening at the desk or covering a story in the field. Now, the two ladies get the Good Day New York lead-in from 4:30-7am each weekday.

But WNYW has more surprises up its sleeve. As first reported by FTV Live, Lori Stokes, who recently ended a 17-year run on WABC/Channel 7, is moving onto the Fox O and O.

What happens next is still to be determined. Sources say Stokes is expected to join Channel 5 in November as co-anchor of the popular Good Day New York. Reportedly, she will team with Rosanna Scotto, thus ending the longtime duo with Greg Kelly. If that does materialize, Kelly could be the odd man out.

“I always said I’d like to see him back in the trenches doing the war correspondent thing,” Former Fox5 colleague  says. “It’s in his blood. I’d love to see him as spokesman for his dad’s [former police commissioner, Ray Kelly] campaign for mayor, or better yet–president!”

While we don’t know the inner workings, it’s clearly a gamble upsetting the chemistry with Greg and Rosanna. Stokes (right) has a strong track record in the daypart and WABC is usually rating winner in the morning (if not the rest of the day), but will she and Scotto gel? Is it risky to have two females anchor the broadcast? Time will tell.

Gabe Pressman, New York Broadcasting Giant, Dead at 93

Legend and icon, words that are commonly misused and overused. But they could have been written just for Gabe Pressman. The Bronx native was 93. He was a fixture at WNBC for decades, getting a lifetime contract with his second stint in 1980.

The pioneering broadcaster is credited as the first street reporter in New York, when he joined WNBC in 1956.

“Gabe was the real deal!” Sue Simmons, his longtime WNBC colleague, remembers. “There was no one more respected in our newsroom. In my moments of insecurity, he was always gently supportive.”

Along the way, he interviewed mayors, governors and presidents. Pressman would do just that, “pressing” his subjects to answer for a hard-hitting story and becoming a leading proponent for the First Amendment.

There was plenty of shock in 1972 when Pressman switched channels to WNEW (now WNYW).

Former News Director Ted Kavanau got word from his general manager Larry Fraiberg that Pressman liked the Ten O’Clock News.

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Uncertainty Looms for Future of CBS Evening News

In the wake of Scott Pelley‘s ouster from the CBS Evening News, execs once again are forced to rebuild their signature flagship newscast.

Pelley (left) was dismissed from the broadcast at the end of May, while remaining as a 60 Minutes correspondent. His tenure in the coveted seat started in 2011.

Pelley brought stability to the venerable news coverage, even if the ratings didn’t reflect that opposite NBC with Lester Holt and ABC with David Muir, who at three years is now the elder statesman of network news anchors.

So what happens next for CBS?

One insider with knowledge of the process says management is sifting through a number of internal candidates.

Anthony Mason has been named the interim anchor, expected to last through the summer. He’s been a fixture at CBS for more than 30 years, after stops in local news including WCBS/Channel 2.

“They are playing this really close to the vest,” the insider tells Tuned In, “although Anthony is definitely a top candidate and a very popular one.”

But Mason, who will be 61 later this month, isn’t the only person being scrutinized for the high-profile assignment. Don Dahler, who got the anchor duties Saturday night, could be another possibility. The former WCBS anchor also did extensive reporting for ABC.

The network is also exploring some outside candidates.

However the insider cautions, “Obviously with the [Katie Couric] disaster, they’re going to be very careful about bringing in someone who doesn’t fit in the carefully restored CBS tradition.”

(Photo courtesy; adweek.com)