Actually, she’s keeping busy at home since having her first child earlier this year via gestational carrier. But that shift from professional to family life with newborn and husband, YES’ Michael Kay, took Jodi Applegate off WPIX as the anchor at 5 and 10 p.m. late last year.
However, Applegate was trying for an 11th-hour negotiation that would keep her on PIX in some capacity. As we’ve reported, station management, led by GM Eric Meyrowitz, the last man standing from the previous regime, insisted on Applegate working full-time. In the end, a deal couldn’t be reached, and the ratings have been nothing short of awful in the intervening months with Tamsen Fadal as anchor.
For example, this Tuesday, WPIX washed away its .5 Maury lead-in with just a .1 at 5 p.m. among adults 25 to 54. The 10 p.m. broadcast improved to .7 in that key demographic, but WNYW was nearly three times better.
Several station insiders have been vocal to Tuned In about letting Applegate walk.
“Jodi had the credibility and authority to command a newscast,” one source says. “Her network and local market experience gave PIX11 the edge it needed to compete. Viewers knew who she was. She was an established anchor.”
Applegate transitioned to evening anchor at News 12 Long Island before moving back a click on the dial to PIX. Viewers recall her stint at Good Day New York on WNYW. She was also co-anchor on NBC’s Weekend Today with Jack Ford, who ironically was paraded into PIX recently as a candidate for the second anchor slot. Incidentally, Ford and Applegate have been reunited on WOR Radio. They’ll team up again next week as midday co-hosts.
Another insider is confident when discussing the popular TV personality.
“Hiring Jodi as main anchor was the best move WPIX made in the past decade,” the insider adds. “Allowing her to walk out the door was the worst move WPIX has made in the past decade.”
Efforts to have news director Mark Effron comment to Tuned In were unsuccessful.
Fadal, transplanted from the PIX Morning News, has done a decent job, if not memorable. During breaking news, Fadal’s lack of experience is on display, and the station misses the veteran Applegate even more.
However, another insider tells a different story. Despite an impressive resume, this person has harsh criticism for Applegate.
“She had neither style nor substance.”
A source shoots back, “Jodi’s style and substance was evident anchoring the 10 p.m. She knew how to deliver an alternative newscast.”
At least from this reporter’s sampling, Applegate is a proven commodity in New York, and nationally. The earlier insider goes as far as pushing for a “re-do” by Channel 11.
“If I were Mark Effron, my first call would have been to Jodi to beg her to come back.”
Photo #2: tveyes.com