Monthly Archives: March 2015

Diana Williams Takes Leave of Absence from Channel 7

wabc_bio_dianawilliams_160x200Longtime anchor Diana Williams is taking a break from her duties at WABC-TV. She wrote on her Facebook page that she’s stepping away to care of her ailing husband.

“On Friday we said our goodbyes. For those who have been following me via social media my husband will begin a bone marrow, now referred to as a stem cell transplant, starting today. And I will be at his side as he gets a new birthday,” Williams tells her Facebook followers. “I bid farewell to the best team you could ask for on Friday as I take a leave of absence from work. I don’t know how long I will be gone but I couldn’t do this without the support of my amazing co-workers. God bless them and all of you.”

If, or when, Williams will return is undetermined. Her tenure at WABC started in 1991. She co-anchored several years with Bill Beutel. These days Williams has been the co-anchor at 5 p.m. with Sade Baderinwa.

It’s been a difficult several weeks for WABC staffers. Last month, Sarah Wallace abruptly quit after three decades covering stories. But the station was emotionally rocked on March 20, when reporter Lisa Colagrossi died suddenly from a brain hemorrhage.

Photo: 7online.com

Michael Jack Successor Expected to be Named Monday

mj+new1WNBC is ready to hand over the reigns of power. Tuned In has learned that Channel 4 is holding a staff meeting at 9:30 a.m. Monday.

While details haven’t been revealed, it appears the newsroom will learn that WCAU President and GM Eric Lerner is succeeding Michael Jack in those roles.

At that same time, sources say NBC’s WCAU in Philadelphia has called its own full staff meeting.

Jack previously announced his Channel 4 retirement for June. He has been in charge of the NBC flagship station for five years.

During Jack’s tenure at 30 Rock, Comcast completed its purchase of General Electric, which was finalized in March 2013.

Under Jack’s leadership, there was tumult in the ratings. A handful of anchor changes dotted the landscape in the last few years and viewers needed a scorecard to know the talent.

Tom Llamas left for ABC News last year, causing Channel 4 to form a split newscast at 5 p.m. Speaking of split, the anchor team of Chuck Scarborough and Shiba Russell was broken up in early 2014. Russell, hired in the summer of 2012, was swapped with Sibila Vargas, who along with Rob Schmitt was brought in from KCBS in Los Angeles. Another anchor added to the roster was Stacey Bell, who joined WNBC on the weekend desk last year.

Jack’s WNBC bio indicates that he managed the local website nbcnewyork.com and additional platforms including taxis and PATH trains.

Lerner has been with WCAU for four years. Prior to that, he had a six-year stint as GM at KIRO, the CBS affiliate in Seattle.

Photo: nbcnewyork.com

Colleagues Cope with Loss of Lisa Colagrossi

11081013_402089466636141_5445076497163986496_nFriends and co-workers are in mourning after the stunning death of Lisa Colagrossi. The veteran Channel 7 reporter died from a brain hemorrhage after covering a story Thursday morning. She was 49.

Longtime WABC-TV anchor Bill Ritter says what most close to Colagrossi are feeling.

“We are all crushed, devastated,” Ritter tells Tuned In. “Lisa was the ultimate pro, and set the bar for how to work hard and effectively as both an immersed reporter and an immersed mom and spouse. I’m filled with sorrow, but also with joy for having known her.”

A familiar face since joining WABC in 2001, at home Colagrossi was hockey mom to her two sons.

In a statement, Dave Davis, President and GM at WABC, says, “All of us in the Channel 7 family are in shock over her sudden death, Our attention is now focused on helping her husband and two children through this difficult time.”

After finishing her morning shift covering a Queens house fire, Colagrossi collapsed in the news van and was rushed to the hospital. Unable to regain consciousness, she died Friday morning.

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Channel 7 Reporter Lisa Colagrossi Dies From Aneurysm

wabc_bio_lisacolagrossi_160x200Lisa Colagrossi, well respected within the walls of WABC-TV and among her many peers, died after suffering a brain aneurysm while on a story Thursday in Queens.

Tuned In learned the family made the painful decision to remove Colagrossi from life support Friday morning. She was 49.

She worked the early shift on Eyewitness News This Morning to spend more time with her boys, ages 11 and 15.

Colagrossi joined Channel 7 in September 2001, freelancing just days after the 9/11 attacks.

One good friend and local broadcaster describes Colagrossi as “kind, generous, and a women’s woman in a business that is tough for women to be together.”

Perhaps shocked, the station did not air a tribute Friday. Many colleagues, however, turned to Twitter and Facebook to grieve.

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Sarah Wallace Appreciates ‘Great Support’ from Former Channel 7 Co-Workers

wabc_bio_sarahwallace_160x200There is shock and sadness still permeating Channel 7. It’s been a week since venerable investigative reporter Sarah Wallace left the station. Questions remain as to why she’s no longer part of the “Circle 7” staff after more than three exemplary decades.

Did Wallace quit? Did she get fired? Was she pushed out by News Director Camille Edwards?

While it may take time for those answers to be revealed, it is clear that the station is devastated by the abruptness of her departure and lack of closure.

“People are heartbroken at the loss. Sarah is respected, admired and loved by her colleagues,” a station insider tells Tuned In. “It’s like a death in the family.”

One veteran anchor takes it a step further for her longtime friend and colleague.

WPIX’s Kaity Tong writes on her Facebook page that Wallace is “absolutely THE most dedicated, tenacious, fair, and professional journalist around. She is brilliant. And has been brilliant for more than 30 years.”

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