WPIX Expanding News Programming to Weekend Mornings

kori-chambersChannel 11 is ready to expand its morning news coverage to seven days. Tuned In has learned WPIX will start a Sunday broadcast from 7-9 a.m. in June. The station will add Saturdays to the mix in September. No word on who will anchor the shows.

Despite the extra pre-dawn news, WPIX is seeing little to no viewers during the week as the May sweeps get underway.

Mornings got an overhaul last month when Kori Chambers was sent packing to weekend nights, while Scott Stanford gave up his sports desk for the second time, now to become Sukanya Krishnan‘s co-anchor.

Since the changes, Tuned In has received multiple comments from readers putting the blame on one person–Krishnan, who has had at least four on-air partners since arriving in 2000.

A sampling of the responses:

L. Fields writes, “After watching Sukanya’s on-air coolness toward Kori during boardcasts, I get the impression that Kori never got a fair chance. There’s a distinct difference in her demeanor and [the] interaction now that Stanford is in the seat.” 

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Big Changes at WPIX; Chambers to Weekends, Stanford Back to News

Scott_StanfordIt’s time to play musical “anchor” chairs. WPIX is making major moves to its weekday morning show and weekend news programming starting Monday.

First off, Kori Chambers has been demoted to weekend nighttime anchor. The rumbles about his dismissal due to lack of chemistry with Sukanya Krishnan have been almost immediate since his arrival in 2013.

Its another news turn for longtime sports anchor Scott Stanford (left), who replaces Chambers. Stanford, whose teaming with Tamsen Fadal didn’t spark enough interest, has been an occasional fill-in opposite Krishnan, since the failed experiment.

Krishnan is the one constant in the ever-changing PIX morning landscape. In fact, by last count, that’s at least four partners she’s worked with on the sunrise newscast since joining the station in 2000.

kori-chambersWith Chambers (right) flying solo on the weekend, that means Kala Rama and Craig Treadway are being shuffled too. The team just started in January, and are now headed to a revamped 5 a.m. PIX Morning News lead-in. 

Rama, whose husband is WPIX morning reporter Anthony DiLorenzo, joined PIX this year from Channel 7, but Treadway is another PIX lifer, headed back to his morning roots.

Andy Adler takes the weeknight sports duties.

“It’s just another shift of chairs on the Titanic,” says a PIX insider. “The next move is obviously a change in management.”

Of course, Channel 11 has their own spin room in place.

Tuned In obtained the email News Director Amy Waldman sent to staff Wednesday.

“To maximize the talents of our news team, we are making some exciting changes in the news department.”

Waldman wrote that Chambers will handle political coverage during the weeknight newscasts. He’ll also work on special consumer reports.

Despite Waldman saying she’s excited about plans for the upcoming book, ratings have been regularly tanking across all dayparts.

Additionally, Dan Mannarino writes on his Facebook page that he’s switching from morning drive to night side reporting.

Shakeup Could Be in the Works at WPIX

AmyThe noose is tightening for management at WPIX. It’s only three months since the Tribune flagship added a 6:30 evening newscast. But it’s not too soon to realize it’s a disaster. The ratings for the Kaity Tong/Brenda Blackmon 30-minute broadcast, aside from the first week curiosity, are in the tank. Channel 11 performed better with Craig Ferguson‘s poorly received Celebrity Name Game in syndication, previously holding down the slot.

Multiple sources confirm to Tuned In that executives are upset with the PIX direction led by news director Amy Waldman (above) and GM Rich Graziano, who promoted her once Mark Effron was shown the door.

“Graziano was honest about why he greenlighted Waldman- her market knowledge” an insider admits. “But knowing how many live trucks your competition has does not make a news director. Now Graziano is tied to dismal ratings, low morale, and an unimpressive news director.”

Insiders say that Waldman, who took on the high profile positiion last April, will not survive beyond the May sweeps. But Graziano’s days could be numbered as well for orchestrating the creation of the 6:30 p.m. newscast.

Another indication that he may be on the hot seat, Tuned In has learned that Bart Feder, Tribune’s SVP of News will lead the search for Waldman’s replacement–not Graziano.

All of the backdoor maneuvering comes as Tribune is reportedly up for sale. What that could mean for WPIX remains a mystery.

Update from Feder:
“I am absolutely not engaged in a search for a new news director at WPIX, nor is anyone else. Amy Waldman is our news director. Period.” 

Emmy Night: Wragge, Fadal Among the Big Winners

B9lXa8FIYAAYH1T (1)Red carpet ready, the best local TV personalities are honored at 59th Annual New York Emmys.

WCBS takes home the trophy for top morning and noon broadcasts with Chris Wragge and Mary Calvi at the helm. Channel 2 traffic reporter Alex Denis wins in the first ever traffic/transportation category. Also at “the deuce,” Jessica Schneider is victorious in the Continuing Coverage category, her first individual Emmy award.

Winner of Best Evening Newscast is WXTV/Univision 41.

For the second time, WPIX’s Tamsen Fadal is named the Best Anchor. Her station also picks up the prize for breaking news.

WABC’s Rob Powers gets the trophy as top sports anchor, while Ian Eagle earns another Emmy for his Nets play-by-play work on the YES Network. SNY’s Keith Hernandez adds another piece of hardware to the mantel.

MSG Network tops all outlets with 14 winners. WNBC leads the over the air stations with 13.

Diane Macedo Likely Moving Crosstown to WNBC Anchor Desk

macedoDiane Macedo, weekend WCBS/Channel 2 morning anchor and reporter, has left the station. Multiple sources tell Tuned In that Macedo is headed to WNBC to co-anchor the new 4 p.m. newscast debuting in May.

Channel 4 previously announced that Stefan Holt, son of NBC Nightly News anchor Lester Holt, was hired as co-anchor on the late afternoon broadcast.

Macedo took to Twitter announcing her farewell last weekend and teasing her next opportunity with, “can’t say yet. Soon!”

A WNBC spokesperson says they don’t comment on rumors, but wouldn’t deny it either.

Macedo, 34, joined WCBS two years ago, primarily working with Andrea Grymes on the early Saturday and Sunday broadcasts. She was a frequent fill-in in the evening when Cindy Hsu was out for a few months last year.

UPDATE: Macedo is joining ABC News as anchor of the overnight broadcast World News Now and America This Morning.

Photo:Twitter @dianermacedo

WNBC Shakeup: Shiba Russell Out; Brynn Gingras CNN-Bound

ShibaRussell_WNBCShiba Russell is gone from WNBC. The anchor’s days were numbered at Channel 4 since Sibila Vargas came on board from Los Angeles in October 2013, supplanting Russell as night time co-anchor with Chuck Scarborough.

Tuned In speculated even before Vargas put her Channel 4 mic clip on for the first time with the headline, “Is Shiba Russell on the Way Out at WNBC?

Russell’s five-year tenure at 30 Rock started with such a promising note, perhaps too promising. Most believe was hired from the ABC affiliate in Boston with the ultimate goal of replacing legend Sue Simmons.

Her star immediately soared. Shortly after starting out on the weekend anchor desk, Russell was promoted to weekdays, putting her in the perfect “wait in wings” position.

Simmons was pushed out in 2012, and there was her heir apparent to pick up the pieces.

However, the chemistry never worked between Scarborough and Russell. The pairing would not come anywhere close to the 32 years of Chuck and Sue’s famous “marriage.” In fact by early 2014, Vargas, who already sat with Scarborough for the 6 p.m. newscast, replaced Russell on the 11 p.m.

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WNBC to Air 4 p.m. News Starting in May

WNBC new logoDecades ago, WNBC set local news on fire when NewsCenter4 was born, ushering in New York’s first two-hour newscast. This time they are the follower, not the leader. Channel 4 will start its early evening newscast at 4.

The move is coming to four markets in May.

That means Ellen DeGeneres‘ Show gets pushed to 3 p.m. while The Steve Harvey Show moves back to 2.

There is no word on any anchor pairings for the one-hour WNBC broadcast.

Market leader Channel 7 has been the only 4 p.m. local newscast since Oprah Winfrey’s 2011 departure.

For now, WNBC does 30-minute “segments” from 5-6:30 p.m. with Chuck Scarborough and Sibila Vargas as bookends to David Ushery and Shiba Russell, anchoring at 5:30.

WPIX Suspends Reporter for ‘Inappropriate’ Trump Tweet

new-ramos-headshotThe media onslaught is relentless when it comes to Donald Trump. However, WPIX’s Andrew Ramos crossed a journalistic line with The Donald.

Using Twitter got the Channel 11 reporter into trouble. Last month, multiple sources confirmed he used the 140 characters in a threatening tone, saying he’d like to punch the billionaire candidate.

That offensive tweet was deleted; however, Ramos did post to his Twitter account on December 9:

“I meant no harm in an earlier tweet & apologize to Donald Trump & those I offended. It was inappropriate as a journalist.”

The tweets are clearly part of business and not for pleasure. His profile points out that he’s a 4-time Emmy Award nominated reporter at PIX11.

Despite Ramos’ tail between the legs, WPIX suspended him for a couple of weeks. Tuned In has learned that Ramos returns to the station Monday. He took a planned end-of-year time off, helping to bury the story during the holidays.

A station spokesperson, though, refused to comment on the situation.

Higher-ups were apparently contemplating whether to bring Ramos back at all, but not news director Amy Waldman.

The lack of understanding on the use of social media by reporters is directly reflective of the lack of editorial judgment from newsroom management,” an insider tells Tuned In. “Waldman had no issue with it until her bosses were made aware of Ramos’ tweet.”

Photo courtesy: pix11.com

WPIX New Weekend Anchor Hired Away from Channel 7

RamaWeekends at WPIX will have a new look in the new year. As we previously reported, Channel 11 is moving Kaity Tong back to weeknights as part of an expanded early evening broadcast with WWOR castoff Brenda Blackmon.

Kala Rama (left) is making the switch from reporter at Eyewitness News, the market’s top station, to weekend co-anchor at PIX. She’ll be joined by a Channel 11 veteran Craig Treadway. Rama will return to the street three days during the week.

A Fairfield County native, Rama tells Tuned In that making it to the anchor desk has been a goal. “My dream has always been to report in New York City. I achieved that in 2015 at ABC7. And now, 2016 brings another accomplishment I’ve dreamed of for years.”

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WPIX Adds 6:30 p.m. Newscast to Schedule

WPIX151206220111You can call Kaity Tong (left) a WPIX survivor. She weathered the storm when she was relegated to weekends five years ago.

Now the 23-year PIX veteran is ready to start anew. She’ll co-anchor a new 6:30 p.m. weeknight broadcast starting next month. Another familiar face to viewers, Brenda Blackmon, is coming on board to join Tong on the 30-minute newscast.

Blackmon spent 23 years at WWOR until Fox canceled its 10 p.m. broadcast in 2013, which she anchored for many years with Harry Martin.

blackmon300“Brenda is one of the most recognizable and talented journalists in the market, and we are thrilled to pair New York news icons Brenda and Kaity at the anchor desk of PIX11’s newest newscast,” WPIX President/GM Rich Graziano said in a statement.

Tong has been a fan favorite during her time at PIX, especially since dealing with the station adversity. She responded to numerous congratulatory tweets. In one saying, “Cannot WAIT to sit beside Brenda.”

Tamsen Fadal and John Muller hold down the fort from 5-6:30 p.m., before returning after dinner break for the 10 p.m.

Channel 11 will have the only local option opposite the network’s big three newscasts.

We’re not sure what this means for the Craig Ferguson-hosted game show, Celebrity Name Game, currently occupying the 6:30 p.m. slot.