Monthly Archives: August 2014

Breaking: Tom Llamas Exiting WNBC

LlamasHe’s a multiple Emmy Award winner. He’s covered the biggest stories since joining WNBC in 2009. Tom Llamas is leaving 30 Rock. Insiders say his last day is Friday.

Tuned In has learned that news director Susan Sullivan told staffers in an email today.

Llamas went from general assignment reporting to anchoring to more comprehensive investigative pieces.

No word on Llamas’ next move.

Among the breaking news he covered for Channel 4 and NBC News viewers were the Boston Marathon bombing and the earthquake in Haiti.

In June of 2013, Llamas was taken off the noon anchoring slot to concentrate on the I-Team reports. He has maintained the 5 p.m. broadcast with Shiba Russell.

Also last year, Llamas snatched the Best Anchor prize at the New York Emmys.

Remembering a Legendary Voice, Don Pardo Dies at 96

PardoHis deep voice was a throwback to the era of old time radio staff announcers. Don Pardo didn’t start his career welcoming viewers week after week to Saturday Night Live. It just seems that way. Pardo began a lifetime gig with the Peacock Network in 1944. Seventy years later he was still at the mic for SNL.

Pardo died Monday at age 96.

As Pardo joined the roster on radio, NBC and General David Sarnoff were experimenting with television. His voice would become even more popular on the burgeoning medium.

Pardo’s personality made him a go-to-guy among the NBC stable of voices for game show duty. He was announcer on the original Price Is Right and Jeopardy!. But as the latter ended its 11-year run in 1975, Pardo got another boost as SNL started later that year.

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Mark Effron Officially to ‘Step Down’ at WPIX in October

PIX11_LogoThere was confusion surrounding the story reported exclusively here last week that Mark Effron was fired as WPIX news director.

Despite the station saying he would return this week following the death of his father and mourning period to the position he’s held since April 2013, GM Rich Graziano confirmed in an email to the staff, and obtained by Tuned In, Effron “has decided to step down.”

He will remain in place until October 31.

“Mark has been instrumental in charting our course through a period of transition as we began repositioning the station with a greater emphasis on news,” Graziano writes.

Given what Tuned In reported last week, it would appear that Tribune’s plan was to fire Effron when he returned from sitting shiva.

However, that backfired.

Not only did some staffers likely find out (including this reporter) before Effron, the firing was handled in a classless way while he was grieving.

So Channel 11 may have planned his exit for this week, but instead of risking the public relations nightmare, it would appear that is why he is being eased out.

In Effron’s note to employees, short-term plans were mentioned.

“When Larry Wert talked to me early last year about joining WPIX as VP/News Director, I made clear my intention to view it as a two-year mission.”

But, even extending through October, Effron only logs 18 months on the job.

Effron says he’ll explore teaching and consulting, which will allow him more time to spend with his family.

“I’ll be here for a while, helping Rich, steering the ship, and paving the way,” Effron writes.

There is no mention of who will replace Effron.

Breaking: Mark Effron Fired at WPIX

PIX11_LogoTo say it was a tumultuous tenure would be an understatement. Mark Effron has been shown the door at WPIX, Tuned In has learned. We’re told Effron exited the building on East 42nd Street for the final time Wednesday at 2 p.m. He was named news director of the Tribune O&O in April 2013.

Katherine Green, Tribune’s Senior VP of News, alerted staffers in-person about Effron’s departure. Although nothing official, Amy Waldman as the second in command becomes interim news director.

It was an internal struggle as rumors persisted that Effron’s days were dwindling. Ratings were not seeing much improvement, despite Channel 11 pumping its chest about the recent July sweeps period. The station has picked up some viewers at 5 p.m., but hardly able to make a made a dent in the morning news wars or at 10 p.m. against WNYW/Channel 5.

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Strong July for WPIX at 5 p.m.

PIX11_LogoThere’s a respite from the turmoil at WPIX. In the all-important July sweeps period, WPIX claims victory in the crowded 5 p.m. race against rival WNYW/Channel 5 and WNBC. Tuned In would get spin from the other stations, but PIX typically is the only station to put such emphasis on the summertime, a time when viewership is drastically altered by vacations.

Regardless. when your management is getting scrutinized on a regular basis, any positive blip in the ratings is solid enough.

Just as John Muller returns to Channel 11, the early evening newscast he co-anchors with Tamsen Fadal makes another strong showing. WPIX is also proud of beating Fox 5 News at 5, anchored by Steve Lacy and Dari Alexander, in several key demos. They say it’s the first time outperforming the Fox O&O in three years, Adults 25-54, Women 25-54, and Adults 18-49. It also ended a three-year drought for WPIX against the folks at 30 Rock in the key demo: Adults 25-54.

The only thing worse than declaring an off-season victory is comparing results from last summer. However, the PIX Morning News was up 20 percent from last July in the Adults 25-54 groups. Summer or not, this marks the seventh consecutive sweep win for Channel 11 opposite CBS This Morning.

And in case you’re wondering, the PIX News at 10 made a 33 percent leap compared to July 2013. That stat is somewhat misleading since the station was still using one anchor. Scott Stanford didn’t join Fadal until September.

The next big question for WPIX is how will they fare in the November sweeps?