Monthly Archives: January 2014

Dan Mannarino To Be Dropped From Anchor Seat, Will Remain at WPIX on Temporary Basis

278x373_reporter_danmannarinoThe Dan Mannarino era is drawing to a close at WPIX. Sources confirm to Tuned In that Mannarino will be removed from his anchor chair in the coming weeks. Mannarino co-anchors the PIX Morning News early edition with Marysol Castro. Sources say Mannarino will stay on as a reporter at WPIX for the short term.

Mannarino joined WPIX as a reporter in September 2011. He got his first taste of anchoring on Channel 11 last June, teaming with Kaity Tong for the weekend broadcasts. However, that pairing was panned, and Mannarino was bounced from the newscasts after just three weekends.

All was not lost for Mannarino’s on-camera high visibility. News director Mark Effron handed Mannarino the 4-6 a.m. slot with the returning Castro.

We’re told that Mannarino has already started pursuing other opportunities.

A WPIX spokesperson has denied our report.

Major Anchor Switch On Tap at WNBC

siblia-vargasIn a dramatic move, WNBC management has decided to make a change with its anchors. Sibila Vargas, who joined WNBC in October, will add the 11 p.m. broadcast opposite venerable Chuck Scarborough, a WNBC spokesperson confirms to Tuned In. Vargas will stay put on the 6 p.m. newscast with Scarborough, which she started upon her arrival from KCBS.

Related: Sibila In, Shiba Out at WNBC?

However, Shiba Russell loses her cushy 11 p.m. slot, taking the noon newscast in a swap with Vargas. The changes take effect February 3. Russell will remain the 5 p.m. co-anchor alongside Tom Llamas.

Whether it’s being deemed an official demotion, make no mistake, it is. Russell, from the moment she arrived at Channel 4 in three years ago, was labeled as the heir apparent to take Sue Simmons‘ job. Russell was on the fast track to succeed Simmons in 2012, being named a weekday anchor within of six months of her debut. She was also a lead fill-in for Simmons.

A WNBC spokesperson, though, counters the “demotion” theory, saying, “As a matter of course, schedule changes routinely take place at local stations, and this is no different. Both Sibila and Shiba play important roles on our anchor team and will continue to do so.”

Even before we got our first opportunity to see Vargas, Tuned In speculated that Vargas and Russell splitting the evening anchor newscasts would probably lead to a bigger change.

Related: Vargas Wins a “Barmash Award”

Once the Queens native showed up, the idea was apparently cemented. Many viewers have said that the seasoned pro injects more personality than Russell at the anchor desk. That trait helped Vargas win a “Barmash Award” earlier this month for “Best New Anchor.”

FTV Live first reported about the anchor switch.

Snowstorm Sneaks Up on Meteorologists

WPIX140119225808This time you can blame the messenger. The winter storm that is bearing down on New Yorkers, gave only 24 hours to prepare for the first flakes.

As the snow started falling this morning, it took until yesterday when computer models and meteorologists decided that this one would materialize in a big way.

On the 11 p.m. newscast Sunday night, Elise Finch on WCBS alluded to snow in her forecast. But she said that the latest model showed “some snow” primarily for Eastern Long Island and Central and Southern New Jersey, Tuesday into Wednesday.

At the same time, WABC’s Jeff Smith was leading his weather segment saying, “By Tuesday, will have some accumulating snow in parts of the area.” He added that New York City was on the storm’s fringe, and could see a dusting to an inch. Smith cautioned, “It wouldn’t take much of a jog to the north to get more snow right here in the city.”

WNBC’s Steve Villaneuva also was forecasting snow for south and east of NYC. Using the RPM model, he projected 3 inches for Barnegat, 1 1/2 inches for Asbury Park, and .7 inches in Hampton Bays. There was a 0–not a bullseye–for the snow amount expected in the five boroughs.

In a late edition of the WNYW 10 p.m. Sunday night, Audrey Puente was at the map.

She forecast 2-3 inches east of the city.

And then there’s Craig Allen. He saw the complexity of the storm. On WPIX, he ended the 10 p.m. broadcast by pointing to the potential for weather problems this week.

“There are so many maps out there that are just indicating the possibility for some snowfall. One says it could be a lot, another says it may not be a lot. This is the thing were going to go through, obviously, for the next several days.”

Allen put an “Uh Oh” under Tuesday in his five-day forecast, stating that there was definitely a chance for shovel-able snow south and east. But Allen was hedging his bets– not giving any accumulations until Monday morning– 4-8 inches in New York City.

Controversy Swirls Around WPIX Executive Producer After Threatening Email to Staff

Shalev_12_4The media have grabbed hold of the Governor Christie “Bridgegate” coverage, which took off after an incriminating email from of his aides. But one media outlet is facing its own internal turmoil due to an email.

WPIX morning executive producer Zev Shalev is facing harsh criticism from his underlings and higher ups.

Shalev, who joined Channel 11 in September, wrote an email last week to his morning group. In the email, which was obtained by Tuned In, Shalev sought story ideas from staffers for the February sweeps period. However, Shalev made it clear that everyone must participate or face consequences at their next review.

Needless to say, employees were upset. We’re hearing that many who received the email found the tone harassing and threatening. Here’s the entire message that Shalev sent:

Last year, I asked for sweeps submissions and got a total of 4!  As I mentioned, content submissions and pitches will be a big part of performance management this year (so it will impact your salary increases).Can I please have fully-formed week-long pitches or special events from EVERYONE who works on the content for the show (writers/producers/reporters/anchors) by the end of Friday.  Please submit at least 3. They need to be high quality, well thought out sweeps and stunts. Absolutely no exceptions.
It will be too late when we are assessing your performance in the near future.
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Arnold Diaz Out at WNYW

DiazIt’s another major shakeup at WNYW. The Fox flagship has dropped its investigative unit led by Arnold Diaz. Tuned In has learned that Diaz and the three producers  assigned to that unit have been axed. Sources confirm that the senior investigative correspondent, and his Shame on You segment, is gone from WNYW. Diaz has amassed more than 40 Emmy Awards for consumer reporting. The Brooklyn-born Diaz started at Fox 5 in 2006. He spent more than two decades at WCBS/Channel 2, before going national with ABC’s 20/20 in 1995.

A WNYW spokesperson refused comment to Tuned In, but VP/GM Lew Leone told TVSpy “…We want to thank him for his many contributions to FOX 5.”

 

 

WPIX to Add 11 A.M. and Weekend Morning Newscasts

PIX11_LogoWPIX, which has been in a morning ratings freefall opposite WNYW/Channel 5, will add news programming to the schedule.

Sources confirm to Tuned In that management is in the process of creating a daily, one-hour newscast at 11 a.m.

But don’t expect the late morning newscast to help promote PIX Morning News anchors Sukanya Krishnan and Kori Chambers. We’re told that Channel 11 is searching for anchors from outside of the station.

“You can only stretch a fiscal rubber band so far before it breaks,” the source said, adding, “You have to make money to spend money. You need to look no further than Eyewitness News [WABC].”

For those unable to wait for noon, the 11 a.m hour is a good alternative, although The View and The Price is Right are formidable foes.

There’s more movement at WPIX. The Tribune flagship will add weekend news shows from 6-9 a.m., also with talent not currently on the Channel 11 roster. Tuned In has learned that viewers can expect to see the daily and weekend changes by May.

Update: WPIX News Director Mark Effron tells Tuned In, “We’re looking at a whole number of options.”

Erika Tarantal Exits WNBC for Boston

erikaAfter six years, Erika Tarantal has anchored her final newscast at WNBC. Tarantal is headed to Boston’s ABC-affiliate WCVB as an anchor and reporter.

“I will always treasure my time at WNBC and be thankful I had the opportunity to work at News 4,” Tarantal tells Tuned In.

She says a start date has not been decided.

Co-anchor David Ushery made mention of Tarantal’s departure during the 11 p.m. Sunday newscast with sports anchor Bruce Beck.

“We’re a little bit sad, Bruce, right?,” Ushery asked.

Highlighting his soon-to-be former colleague’s assets, Beck said, “Her versatility, her charms, her smarts, everything about her, and we wish her the best of luck.”

The broadcast ended with Ushery giving Tarantal a fist bump toward her future endeavors. As Beck’s Sports Final show began he added, “Hold the tears off.”

Tarantal says, “WNBC is a station filled with great talent and great people who I will always consider family.”

Former Yankee Player and Broadcaster, Jerry Coleman Dies at 89

ColemanJerry Coleman was an integral part of the New York Yankees championship teams in the 1950s. Long before his Hall of Fame broadcasting career began with the Padres, Coleman joined Casey Stengel’s squad in 1949 as a second baseman. His offensive and defensive skills helped the Yankees make six World Series appearances, winning four rings. After winning the Rookie of the Year Award, Coleman earned his only All-Star berth in 1950. That same year, Coleman shined as World Series MVP with a stellar glove. He also drove home the winning run in Game 3.

Marty Appel, long associated with the Yankees as a publicist, producer and author, tells Tuned In that Coleman was the perfect player in Stengel’s world.

“He could play three positions and like Gil McDougald, gave Casey a lot of maneuverability for his system of platoon baseball,” Appel says. “A clutch player, a fine team man, and one of the ‘greatest generation,’ for his service to his country in two wars.”

His playing time was cut short because of flying hours with the Marine Corps during World War II and the Korean War.

Coleman would get another opportunity with the Yanks, beginning a seven-season stint as television play-by-play voice in 1963 on WPIX. There were a couple of pennant winning teams early for Coleman to announce, ahead of the late 1960s doldrums in the Bronx. However, one moment got everyone out of their seats when Mickey Mantle hit his 500th home run in May 1967.

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Here are the 4th Annual Barmash Awards

Eyewitness News TeamThe holiday season isn’t over until we hand out the Barmash Awards. Our 4th annual list highlights the best TV news personalities of 2013 in New York.

The category of Best Anchor–a competitive group, to be sure. But our choice is WABC/Channel 7’s Bill Ritter. He is the most confident and has the best chemistry with his co-anchors.

Honorable Mention: WNBC’s David Ushery and WCBS’s Cindy Hsu. We didn’t make a separate anchor category for the weekenders. But Ushery and Hsu are no “second-class citizens,” holding their own with their weekday brethren.

Ushery and Hsu have many years of anchoring experience, and both have been passed over for a larger presence during the week. Ushery, though, has been a main fill-in for venerable Chuck Scarborough.  Plus, this election season, he was the host of WNBC’s debate programming.

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