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.”
He says new owner Comcast has stepped up with resources for the news department that go beyond satellite vans and equipment.
“It’s also [about] bringing in more people,” Llamas says.
He started having discussions with WNBC management a few months ago about finding a larger role with the I Team.
In November 2011, Channel 4 resumed a noon broadcast with Llamas and Russell as charter members of the anchor desk. He says any network or local coverage assignments were hampered by his presence at midday.
“One of the things we quickly realized was it was tougher and tougher for me to go out on the street and report investigative stories, do big pictures, because it meant me coming off the noon,” Llamas says.
Llamas says versatility is the wave of the future for TV news. He points to NBC’s Brian Williams and Matt Lauer, CNN’s Anderson Cooper, and Fox News Channel’s Shepard Smith as “hybrids,” who use the same skill and ease to anchor and report.
“Nowadays you have to be that type of journalist,” Llamas says. “I think the audience will trust you more when they know that you’re on the street.”