By JERRY BARMASH
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.”
Tuned In attempted to reach Effron and a WPIX spokesperson.
Sources say, despite the hiccup, the two-anchor format, is the future of WPIX’s evening newscasts.
Not completely out of the anchoring picture, Mannarino tweeted that he’ll co-anchor the PIX Morning News this week for Sukanya Krishnan, who is out on maternity leave.
The broken record of Channel 11 ratings has featured slim to none results at 5 and 10 p.m. In fact, the mornings, which also regularly lose to rival WNYW, are outshining Channel 11’s evening newscasts.
Tuned In obtained numbers for the 10 p.m. broadcast after James Gandolfini died. Although PIX, led by Fadal, provided team coverage with multiple reporters, Twitter reaction, and in-studio experts, viewers clearly were not impressed.
The station registered a miniscule .4 in the key adults 25 to 54 demographic, while WNYW overpowered with a 2.3. Worse still, the Ten O’Clock News on WWOR/Channel 9 even clipped Channel 11 with a .5.
The 5 p.m. on Friday managed just a .1 rating among adults 25 to 54, meaning you could have about as many viewers by yelling out the window.
“When your newscast scores [that low] in the demo, your credibility is at stake. It’s what separates news readers from real anchors,” the insider says.
So Fadal apparently is facing a fluid future at PIX.
Though at least a couple of people have come in to audition, it’s unknown if either has a firm inside track on the job.
Actor/comedian Brian Unger and former Weekend Today anchor Jack Ford were among the would-be candidates to get a try out. Ironically, Ford anchored the NBC program with Jodi Applegate in the 1990s.
“The station has not found its footing since [her] departure,” the insider says.
We’re told that Tribune honchos Peter Liquori and Larry Wert are in charge of all talent decisions at PIX.
“Effron doesn’t have as much say,” the insider intimates. “Many people are now saying they are not impressed with this management team. They are all over the place.”