Shiba Russell is gone from WNBC. The anchor’s days were numbered at Channel 4 since Sibila Vargas came on board from Los Angeles in October 2013, supplanting Russell as night time co-anchor with Chuck Scarborough.
Tuned In speculated even before Vargas put her Channel 4 mic clip on for the first time with the headline, “Is Shiba Russell on the Way Out at WNBC?”
Russell’s five-year tenure at 30 Rock started with such a promising note, perhaps too promising. Most believe was hired from the ABC affiliate in Boston with the ultimate goal of replacing legend Sue Simmons.
Her star immediately soared. Shortly after starting out on the weekend anchor desk, Russell was promoted to weekdays, putting her in the perfect “wait in wings” position.
Simmons was pushed out in 2012, and there was her heir apparent to pick up the pieces.
However, the chemistry never worked between Scarborough and Russell. The pairing would not come anywhere close to the 32 years of Chuck and Sue’s famous “marriage.” In fact by early 2014, Vargas, who already sat with Scarborough for the 6 p.m. newscast, replaced Russell on the 11 p.m.
However, Russell did click with other anchors, most notably Tom Llamas and David Ushery.
“After five years at WNBC, Shiba Russell is leaving our newsroom… We thank Shiba for her hard word and commitment.”
And Channel 4 has another spot to fill. Reporter Brynn Gingras is on her way to CNN. The general assignment correspondent joined WNBC in April 2012.