Monthly Archives: May 2013

Auditions Begin for WPIX New Co-Anchor as Ratings Continue to Falter

By JERRY BARMASH
(@jerrybarmash)

UngerThe process is underway at WPIX. Executives are in search for that perfect on-air tandem to combine with Tamsen Fadal on evening newscasts.

As we reported earlier this month, news director Mark Effron told staffers that he wants to find a co-anchor for Fadal at 5 and 10 p.m.

Tuned In has learned exclusively that WPIX has auditioned several would-be candidates, male and female, for the position. Also of note, it was a second try for the female anchors, who also were brought in to succeed Jodi Applegate.

One of the most bizarre candidates is actor/comedian Brian Unger (top). Insiders say the charter correspondent on The Daily Show from 1996 to 1999 auditioned for the anchor role on the real newscast earlier this month.

One source cracks, “You have a station tanking and this is the best they can come up with?”

Unger, who has appeared in several TV shows and movies, does have some minor news experience. He was a fill-in host for Countdown with Keith Olbermann on MSNBC.

Unger, who hosts How the States Got Their Shapes on the History Channel, provides commentary for NPR’s All Things Considered.

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Dan Mannarino Joins Kaity Tong as WPIX Weekend Co-Anchor

278x373_reporter_danmannarinoBy JERRY BARMASH
(@jerrybarmash)

There’s been a lot of buzz about who will join Tamsen Fadal as WPIX weeknight co-anchor. But while we wait for the talent to be chosen, news director Mark Effron has made a somewhat surprising announcement.

Dan Mannarino has been named a co-anchor on the weekend broadcasts with Kaity Tong, beginning Saturday night at 6.

A spokesperson tells Tuned In that the pairing is for the summer.

It is just the latest in a long line of changes removing all connections to Bill Carey as news director.

The solo anchor experiment at PIX was started under Carey’s watch. Jim Watkins, first displaced to weekends in 2010, gave way to former co-anchor Tong in October 2011.

Mannarino, whose stock is rising at Channel 11 in his 2 1/2 years on the job, was part of the reporting team from Italy twice– for the elevation of Archbishop Dolan and in March as the cardinals voted for a new pope.

Earlier this month, Tuned In learned exclusively that Effron unveiled his plans for PIX at a meeting with staffers, which included teaming Fadal with a partner. There was apparently no mention of adding a second anchor on weekends.

Photo: pix11.com

Nicki Minaj: ‘I Just Found You Annoying,’ Upon Making Peace with Hot 97’s Rosenberg

Nicki and RosenbergBy JERRY BARMASH
(@jerrybarmash)

It was 51 weeks in the making, but there is happiness in the Hip Hop world!

The long weekend ended with listeners getting ice water splashed in their faces as rapping superstar Nicki Minaj was an in-studio guest this morning on Hot 97.

Minaj buried the hatchet with morning co-host Peter Rosenberg. At issue, Rosenberg (left) took offense with Minaj at last year’s Summer Jam concert for her choice of pop hit Starships.

The interview (see video below) was brokered by program director Ebro Darden.

“This is on you, sir, where would you like this interview to go?” he asked at the outset.

Rosenberg admitted he was excited to reconnect with Minaj, adding that he’s become linked with the star since the controversy.

“I wonder if Nicki knows that she has come up in my life every day for 350 days,” Rosenberg said.

Rosenberg, looking directly at Minaj said his feelings for Starships, which was played at his September wedding, hadn’t changed.

“I was bummed out that it took the life that it took,” Rosenberg said. “…I’m sorry that things went as left as they did. I never had ill-feelings about you as a human being.”

After Rosenberg’s apology, Minaj countered.

“It’s cool. It’s water under the bridge,” Minaj said. “It’s so long ago, I can’t even act like I care anymore.”

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Robin Roberts, CBS News, Lorne Michaels Among 2013 Peabody Award Winners

photo (11)By JERRY BARMASH
(@jerrybarmash)

Excellence in electronic media was on display at the Peabody Awards ceremony. The 72nd annual awards brought out some of the biggest names from television.

Good Morning America‘s Robin Roberts was honored for an ABC News program documenting her rare disease.

Roberts tells Tuned In that her decision to go public wasn’t taken lightly.

“I can’t have any regrets when I know how many more people are now registered to be bone marrow donors,” Roberts admits.

Less dramatic, but equally as worthy, HBO’s Game Change was recognized. The pay-cable movie was the story of 2008 Republican Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin.

Director Jay Roach says picking the right person to play the starring role was pivotal to the success.

“There was a lot of expectations about who would play her because Tina Fey had done such an incredible job in a certain version of interpreting her,” Roach tells Tuned In. “That wasn’t the version we were looking for.”

So Roach, who has directed several big screen comedies including Meet the Parents, began a search for the perfect Palin.

“We wanted to find someone who could be compelling, strong, as charismatic as Sarah Palin. But also could play it with the kind of depth you would need to make her a real person,” Roach says.

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WABC’s Jeff Pegues Heading for CBS News

PeguesBy JERRY BARMASH
(@jerrybarmash)

Veteran Channel 7 reporter Jeff Pegues is moving onto a network platform. The personable broadcast journalist is joining CBS News as a Washington DC based reporter.

Pegues started at WABC in December 2003, and quickly rose to cover some of the biggest stories for the station.

Arguably, the Emmy Award winner’s most memorable newsgathering took place last October during Superstorm Sandy. Viewers will recall Pegues being on the scene of the harrowing Breezy Point fire as residents attempted to escape.

“It’s been an incredible 10 years,” Pegues told Tuned In exclusively. “Working for Channel 7 is like playing for the Yankees. It’s a class, top-notch organization.”

During that decade in “pinstripes” on camera, he was a regular nighttime reporter. The 11 p.m. newscast would feature lead anchor Bill Ritter traditionally throwing it to a live Pegues with his “Jeffrey” moniker.

Tuned In has obtained the email that news director Camille Edwards sent to employees Friday.

“Sometimes life is bittersweet. This is one of those moments,” Edwards wrote.

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ESPN New York Unveils New Upper West Side Studios

espnNY_98-7_FM_rev1By JERRY BARMASH
(@jerrybarmash)

Although not as earth-shattering a story as when WEPN moved to 98.7 FM, New York’s ESPN Radio home is on the move again.

ESPN New York 98.7 debuted its new studios at 125 West End Avenue Thursday. The Michael Kay Show cut the ribbon on the state-of- the-art gigs as all other programming followed.

That address is also home to ABC News Radio.

Tuned In is told that business personnel will report to the offices near West 66th Street after the holiday weekend.

ESPN New York had been broadcasting from 2 Penn Plaza above Madison Square Garden.

‘Never Say Never’ for WPLJ’s Scott Shannon Staying with Morning Show

ScottBy JERRY BARMASH
(@jerrybarmash)

Scott Shannon has been lauded with several Hall of Fame honors. Half of WPLJ’s Scott and Todd (Pettengill) morning show since 1991, Shannon is also responsible for putting Z100/WHTZ on the map 30 years ago.

Last week, CNN named Shannon as one the country’s all-time great air personalities. The list includes Cousin Brucie, Casey Kasem, Wolfman Jack, and Howard Stern.

“I’m not in that league,” a humbled Shannon tells Tuned In. “I was more of a program director/personality. Now I’m just a personality.”

Last June, Cumulus hired John Foxx as WPLJ afternoon jock and program director. It marked Shannon’s first time in New York without the dual role of management and the morning man.

“I’ve been through four different ownerships [at ‘PLJ]. When the new people came in they wanted a fresh approach,” Shannon says.

Shannon, 65, admitted that he initially wasn’t comfortable with the reduction of duties.

“In about 90 days, it was obvious to me that I didn’t mind assuming this role,” Shannon admits.

Called by many a programming genius, Shannon praises the job Foxx has done.

“I work in conjunction with him,” Shannon says. “If he needs any input from me, I’ll give it to him.”

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Andrea Day, Former WNYW Reporter, Takes on CNBC Crime Beat

AndreaBy JERRY BARMASH
(@jerrybarmash)

Talk about under the radar.

Longtime WNYW/Channel 5 reporter Andrea Day, who left the station in 2011, is now handling the “crime and punishment” beat for CNBC.

Day, who joined WNYW in 1997, resurfaced recently freelancing for the financial network. Her stories are an apparent attempt by CNBC to capitalize on its popular American Greed prime time series.

Not all prime time shows, however, are doing as well on the cable network.

NY1’s Pat Kiernan hosts Crowd Rules. Its debut last week, Tuned In has learned, got awful numbers. Among the household ratings for the 9 p.m. hour, it got a 47. By contrast, American Greed typically notches a 100 household rating.

Tuned In attempted to reach CNBC and Day for an interview.

Gumbel: Matt Lauer is Going Through a “Difficult Time”

GumbelThe parallels are striking for Bryant Gumbel, who spent 15 years as co-anchor on NBC’s Today show with the current host, the embattled Matt Lauer.

Lauer has been under fire since Ann Curry was replaced on the program last summer by Savannah Guthrie.

Gumbel was stuck in the middle of his own on-air triangle 24 years ago when Jane Pauley got pushed off the show for Deborah Norville.

Tuned In caught up with Gumbel Monday at the Peabody Awards, where his Real Sports was honored with the trophy for broadcasting excellence.

Gumbel said he and Lauer are best friends, who talk regularly and play golf.

“He’s going through a difficult time,” Gumbel admitted. “But I think part of that comes with the territory. It wasn’t that long ago when I was going through the same thing, at the same place.”

Gumbel also weathered a scandal at the morning broadcast, when a scathing memo about personnel was leaked in 1989.

“It happens, it’s part of life,” Gumbel said. “Nobody’s going to pass the plate and feel sorry for you.”

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Examining the May Sweeps: Overall Win for WABC, WCBS Suffers in Morning

WCBS morning

WCBS management is hoping ratings heat up in the morning with John Elliott, Mary Calvi, Chris Wragge, and Alex Denis.

By JERRY BARMASH
(@jerrybarmash)

We’ve analyzed and dissected a one-day sampling from the May sweeps. Before the stations put a spin on the winners, here’s our ratings breakdown.

WNBC can claim victory during early mornings (4:30 to 7) among the pivotal adults 25 to 54 demographic. It’s a partial win for Channel 4, which got overtaken by perennial ratings champ WABC in the 6 a.m. hour.

It was a poor May for WCBS in the a.m., the first sweeps period for Channel 2 since the Rob Morrison resignation in late February. Now with Chris Wragge joining Mary Calvi, the station settled into a dismal fourth place behind WNYW’s Good Day Wake Up in the adults 25-54 demo.

The news is only slightly better for WCBS when using the household ratings. Channel 2 managed a third-place finish, eeking out WNYW. But it’s all about WABC—Eyewitness News This Morning won the daypart, and in doing so almost doubled its closest competitor (WNBC) in the 6 a.m. hour.

WPIX, in its first sweeps under the direction of Mark Effron, showed no improvement. The early edition of the PIX Morning News had an abysmal effort in the household and 25-54 demo. Channel 11 gets a few more viewers for the 7-9 a.m. block, but remained entrenched in fifth, and more important, locked behind rival WNYW using all measuring sticks.

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