Monthly Archives: June 2013

Family Ties Creator, Gary David Goldberg, Dead at 68

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Cast of Family Ties from 1986

By JERRY BARMASH
(@jerrybarmash)

It was a story you had to stumble upon this week to find. It didn’t get anything close to the media coverage of James Gandolfini’s death. But Family Ties creator Gary David Goldberg, who passed away last weekend of brain cancer, is deserving of his own tribute. The Brooklyn native died three days shy of his 69th birthday at his Montecito, California home.

Goldberg grew up in Bensonhurst, played basketball at Lafayette High School, and attended Hofstra University briefly.

He got his degree at San Diego State University and success would follow on the West Coast.

His legacy is Family Ties, which help launch Michael J. Fox into superstardom as Alex P. Keaton, a protégé of President Reagan. The show aired during his administration from 1982 to 1989.

“While the show was funny and so with the times, who can forget his great production company Ubu Productions logo after each show? ‘Sit Ubu, Sit…good dog,’ will always be remembered and I don’t think I’ll ever forget that line,” Pavan Patel, SitcomsOnline director, tells Tuned In.

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NOW-FM and WPIX Honored by New York State Broadcasters

NOW FMBy JERRY BARMASH
(@jerrybarmash)

CBS Radio’s NOW-FM/WNOW-FM and Tribune’s WPIX/Channel 11 are adding to their display cases.

The stations scored the most wins at the annual Awards for Excellence in Broadcasting presented by the New York State Broadcasters Association.

Despite perpetually poor ratings, PIX’s talent was recognized by the NYSBA, with four trophies.

Channel 11 was named winner in the Outstanding Hard News Story and Outstanding Feature News Story categories.

WPIX also was selected this week as Outstanding Locally Originated Newscast for coverage of the East River ferry crash in January. Reporters Dan Mannarino, James Ford, Kirsten Cole, and Arthur Ch’ien were singled out for their work.

PIX also won for Outstanding Documentary.

WNYW/Channel 5 won for Outstanding Locally Produced Show, along with Westchester’s RNN, which also earn the hardware for Outstanding Public Affairs Program or Series.

The other TV winners were from upstate or the Hudson Valley.

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WNBC’s Tom Llamas Drops Noon for Reporting; Rob Schmitt Hired From SoCal

rob-schmittBy JERRY BARMASH
(@jerrybarmash)

Channel 4 is going bi-coastal with its new hire, Rob Schmitt (left) from CBS’ duopoly KCBS/KCAL in Los Angeles.

Schmitt, who makes his New York debut July 15, will anchor the weekday noon broadcast with a rotation of Erika Tarantal and Contessa Brewer.

Schmitt, who was with the CBS’ stations in L.A. since 2011, will also handle reporting for WNBC’s  5 and 6 p.m. newscasts.

It also frees up noon co-anchor Tom Llamas to expand his reporting duties with the station’s investigative unit—the I Team. Viewers will still see Llamas, who won an Emmy as New York’s top anchor, with Shiba Russell at 5 p.m.

“I’m incredibly excited,” Llamas tells Tuned In.

Llamas’ plate is even more full when you add his contributions to NBC News.

“It’s really a dream opportunity,” Llamas says. “I don’t know if any other television journalist on the planet has that type of opportunity. So I’m really looking forward to it.”

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WPIX’s Tamsen Fadal Appearance on CBS Angers Her PIX Colleagues

Tamsen TalkBy JERRY BARMASH
(@jerrybarmash)

Did you catch CBS’ The Talk Monday? The women’s roundtable discussion ended the show with Channel 11 lead anchor Tamsen Fadal as a guest.

Fadal was billed as a dating expert, having written a pair of self-help books on the topic.

She was comfortable and clear, smart and sassy in the two short segments sharing her expertise. Fadal sounded better than the regular hosts, including Sharon Osbourne and Sara Gilbert, a fact not lost on one PIX insider.

“She is much better suited for The Talk than anchoring.”

Fadal visited The Talk with the gravitas that comes with being a serious news anchor. So discussing when to “jump in the sack” after a break-up might not be befitting of her stature.

Following her appearance, Tuned In sampled the WPIX newsroom for their take.

“Fadal, who is trying to be taken seriously as a New York City news anchor, was on a national show being labeled as a relationship expert and [she] is recently divorced.”

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Former WYNY, WHN Personality Bruce Bradley Dies

BradleyKnown for wit and humor, Bruce Bradley was a part of the last generation of radio air personalities. To New Yorkers from that era, Bradley is remembered as the WYNY morning man from 1981 to ’83 as the station was gaining a head of steam. His voice was silenced Saturday at age 79 in Lake St. Louis, Missouri.

Although an official cause of death is not known, we’ve learned that Bradley suffered from emphysema late in life.

Bradley was born and raised in Rochester, New York. But before he’d return to work in the state, albeit in Manhattan, he made a name for himself at WBZ in Boston.

Bob Lape, the former WABC-TV reporter and food critic, worked with Bradley in Beantown.

“I did news amid his DJ show at WBZ in the early to mid-60’s. A quiet professional with a Bob Newhart air,” Lape tells Tuned In. “His wit was special — often sly, but always in evidence. He hit all the marks in delivering programs of quality — musically and in his whimsical reads of spots, and ad-libbery.”

WFAN’s Mike McCann, who was Bradley’s cohort at WYNY, says he achieved legend status at WBZ.
“If you talk to anybody in Boston, he was an absolute legend there,” McCann tells Tuned In. “On the lines of what people like Brucie, BMR [B. Mitchel Reed], Gary Stevens, and Murray the K were down here.”

Even though the legendary tier would escape Bradley in New York, his talent was still on display in the Big Apple. His smooth style was a cornerstone of his trade no matter where he opened the mic.
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‘No Incentive’ for Chuck Scarborough and Shiba Russell, Who Complete First Year Together at WNBC

ShibaRussell_11debutBy JERRY BARMASH
(@jerrybarmash)

It still doesn’t have the familiar ring, but WNBC is marking one year for anchor team Chuck Scarborough and Shiba Russell at 11 p.m. It’s also a year since Channel 4 parted ways with the extremely popular Sue Simmons.

Not surprisingly, even the legendary anchorman found “The Chuck and Shiba Show” slow at the outset. Multiple requests to interview Scarborough and Russell for this article were denied by Channel 4.

“They’re better now than they certainly were a year ago when they started,” an insider says. “It’s been hard for Shiba. It’s been an adjustment for her too.”

That adjustment, the insider says, involves her switch from daytime to late hours, with a young daughter.

“She’s hanging in there, I think.”

Russell may have struggled in the high-profile role, but she was clearly on the fast track to succeed Simmons from day-one at 30 Rock in 2011. Also clear, Chuck and Shiba are not a long term answer for WNBC. Scarborough is 69, Russell is 37.

The numbers have been steadily below average at 11 p.m., consistently losing to WABC, and battling WCBS for second. Earlier this year, the late newscast got a kick in the teeth when NBC registered its first-ever fifth place showing in prime time.

“Sometimes you come in to work the next day after what you’ve done with your show, and it still doesn’t make a difference,” the insider states. “To have to go through that day in and day out is hard.”

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Dan Mannarino Bumped From WPIX Weekend Anchor Duties

278x373_reporter_danmannarinoBy JERRY BARMASH
(@jerrybarmash)

Dan Mannarino is out as weekend co-anchor on WPIX. Sources tell Tuned In that Mannarino did his final weekend behind the desk on June 16. He’ll remain a reporter at Channel 11.

It was a failed experiment from the start for news director Mark Effron, who teamed the veteran Kaity Tong, 65, with the thirty-something enterprising reporter.

“It’s a case of age versus beauty,” a source cracks. “And beauty wins out,”

From the outset of joining PIX, Effron made no allusions internally about undoing the Bill Carey era. As we reported last month, he told staffers that the station is in the process of employing the standard second anchor, at this point with Tamsen Fadal. But the recent weekend movement caught many insiders by surprise.

The Tong and Mannarino on-air partnership, which survived only three weekends, started June 1.

“The problem with Dan is that he looked and sounded at least 10 years younger than he actually was,” the source says. “When you looked at the totality of the Kaity and Dan anchor team, what defined the two of them? Nothing.”

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Mourning The Sopranos Kingpin, James Gandolfini of The Sopranos

Gandolfini and CausiBy JERRY BARMASH
(@jerrybarmash)

He was a Tony Award nominee, had numerous roles, mostly supporting, in films, but James Gandolfini will forever be Tony Soprano.  He died yesterday of a massive heart attack in Italy. Gandolfini was just 51.

As the Don in HBO’s groundbreaking mafia drama The Sopranos, Gandolfini won three Emmy Awards as Tony Soprano. Gandolfini’s portrayal didn’t only earn him trophies, it won him praise from viewers and colleagues worldwide.

His legacy is cemented with the tortured role, where he battled with his family and the family business.

And yet, Gandolfini’s Soprano is recognized as one of the most endearing characters in television history.

He touched millions of people each Sunday night, but there are many others who were fortunate enough to have a personal connection with the TV giant. One of those is WCBS-FM’s Joe Causi (above with Gandolfini).

“I met him at various fundraisers. [He was] always doing good for so many charities,” Causi tells Tuned In.

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Remembering ‘Kind Soul’ Dave Jennings, Giants Punter, Jets/Giants Broadcaster

jenningsBy JERRY BARMASH
(@jerrybarmash)

Longtime Giants punter and later football broadcaster, Dave Jennings, passed away today after a long battle with Parkinson’s Disease. Jennings died at his home in Upper Saddle River, New Jersey. He was 61. Those who knew him best, describe Jennings as a terrific person.

Jennings was associated with two NFL teams on the field, and in the booth.

From 1974 to 1984, he was the Giants punter. By the end of the decade with Big Blue, Jennings posted franchise records with most punts and most yards. He was selected to four Pro Bowls.

In 2011, Jennings was treated as an All-Time Giants great, in being added to the Ring of Honor.

He also spent three seasons booting the pigskin for the Jets.

But Jennings enjoyed his longest radio stint with analyst for the Jets. He was the constant in the booth for the 13 seasons, while sharing the mic working with four different play-by-play voices. One of those radio partners was Ian Eagle, working his first NFL action in 1997.

“He very easily could have been a college professor [with] his temperament, his intellect, [and] dry sense of humor,” Eagle tells Tuned In. “One thing I certainly learned from him was the preparation aspect. He was so thorough.”

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Bill Evans Claims His Wife Scratched Groin During a Fight

220px-Bill_Evans,_meteorologist_cropped

By JERRY BARMASH
(@jerrybarmash)

Details are beginning to emerge in the alleged domestic abuse incident involving WABC weatherman Bill Evans and his wife, Dana.

Yesterday, the estranged couple appeared in Stamford Superior Court separately to give their sides of the ugliness that ensued May 4.

The WABC meteorologist claims his wife “grabbed the waist band of his underwear and reached for his scrotum with her free hand, subsequently scratching [the scrotum], which resulted in bleeding,” according to the affidavit by a Greenwich police officer.

Bill Evans also claimed that the Battle Royal started after she humiliated him in front of their children.

The court document states that “Dana then punched him with her right hand on the left side of his face while holding the keys and then slapped him.”

The affidavit says she attempted to “karate kick” her soon-to-be divorced husband. Bill said in the document that’s when the private parts scratching took place, and added that he pushed his wife away. But Dana returned with a wooden hanger that she hit him with across the rear and back.

Dana Evans‘ version, according to the court document, has major variations.

One difference, she reportedly claims that he shoved her and she tried to kick him away.

He grabbed her leg, forcing her to fall, she said. Then Dana alleges that he punched her in the right eye with a closed fist as she backed away. She insists she used the clothes hanger in self-defense.

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