WWOR Catches WPIX at Ten P.M., Former WNBC News Director Vickie Burns on Scene at Channel 11

PIX11_LogoWPIX is now Chasing WWOR.

It’s only taken two weeks for oft-criticized Chasing New Jersey to clip Channel 11 at 10 p.m. Despite the lack of a local news presence in the Garden State, the TMZ-esque politically focused 30-minute show has caught on with enough viewers, even though it also has caught the ire of the FCC.

On Friday, the key demographic of adults 25 to 54 gave PIX a deeper bruise as WWOR tied the Tribune O&O at 10 p.m. The two broadcasts each registered a .4. Prior to the evening newscast being dismantled in Secaucus, Fox-owned WWOR registered a .1, while PIX notched a .5.

The dismal ratings apparently prompted Tribune to make a move. Multiple sources tell Tuned In that one-time WNBC news director Vickie Burns is now part of PIX. While her role with WPIX is not clear, we’ve learned that she’s been seen in the Channel 11 newsroom during anchor auditions. The station and Tribune would not confirm Burns has joined the station or the company.

“It’s evident by the ratings, the anchors on the desk aren’t getting it done,” an insider says. “It’s also evident that [Mark] Effron and [Eric] Meyrowitz may no longer have the final say in the newsroom.”

As we’ve reported, while candidates continue to tryout for an anchor spot, there’s still no definitive word on the future of anchor Tamsen Fadal.

Vickie_BurnsIt remains to be seen if the news director/GM combo of Effron and Meyrowitz will be revamped due to the abysmal ratings. One thing is clear, though, having Burns (right) log hours at PIX is leading to rampant rumors about what happens next. One possibility has Effron getting moved to a corporate role—deserving or not. However, an insider flips that possibility, with Burns succeeding Tribune SVP Steve Charlier. Still others ponder if Burns will team with Effron and squeeze Meyrowitz out of the picture.

In addition, we’re told that Effron’s office is empty, fueling more speculation that he may be holding the position as a stop gap measure.

Whether it would translate to the ratings, Burns’ hard-nosed style may light a fire under the PIX staff. Any delay in having Burns officially join WPIX could involve her still being under contract to NBCUniversal. She left as KNBC news director in March 2012.

For now, it seems the proverb “too many chefs” describes the Channel 11 newsroom.

An insider declares, “There [are] a lot of managers and pseudo managers, but no one is really giving any direction.”
Photo: mije.org

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