The fate of WPIX’s news director is likely tied to next month’s pivotal ratings performance. Mark Effron got the position a year ago and, although he made several personnel moves, it’s no different than rearranging the Titanic chairs.
Channel 11 has been facing an ongoing battle for eyeballs. The numbers have remained poor, primarily at 10 p.m. with Effron ‘s biggest acquisition— when Scott Stanford was pulled away from sports for a full-time opportunity to co-anchor with Tamsen Fadal.
“There’s a growing feeling within Tribune that it’s not working at 5 and 10 [p.m.],” a PIX insider charges.
Morning is another problem area for WPIX, with no ground gained on WNYW’s powerhouse Good Day New York. The Rosanna Scotto/Greg Kelly led program typically beats some of the big boys….having better results than NBC’s Today show.
The May sweeps could bring potential sweeping change to the Tribune flagship. Sources tell Tuned In this is a final chance for on-air talent and behind-the-scenes staffers to fight for their jobs.
“It’s no secret ratings are bad, morale is low, and there’s a serious lack of leadership.”
Given those factors, we’re told that Effron’s days are numbered with GM Rich Graziano, hired in November.
“Upper management has given up on Effron and his managers,” a PIX insider says. “Tribune
gave his team every option to succeed and he’s failed.”
It’s difficult to find a silver lining regarding the situation on East 42nd Street. Approaching the May ratings period, PIX’s numbers plummeted to year-to-year low, Tuned In has learned.
One of Effron’s plans, like FDR’s New Deal creating jobs, was to sprinkle extra broadcasts throughout the day and week.
But it appears that the station is not able to financially support those shows right now, a remnant of Tribune’s bankruptcy. A source tells Tuned In that “everything is on hold indefinitely.”