Author Archives: JerryBarmash

Uncertainty Looms for Future of CBS Evening News

In the wake of Scott Pelley‘s ouster from the CBS Evening News, execs once again are forced to rebuild their signature flagship newscast.

Pelley (left) was dismissed from the broadcast at the end of May, while remaining as a 60 Minutes correspondent. His tenure in the coveted seat started in 2011.

Pelley brought stability to the venerable news coverage, even if the ratings didn’t reflect that opposite NBC with Lester Holt and ABC with David Muir, who at three years is now the elder statesman of network news anchors.

So what happens next for CBS?

One insider with knowledge of the process says management is sifting through a number of internal candidates.

Anthony Mason has been named the interim anchor, expected to last through the summer. He’s been a fixture at CBS for more than 30 years, after stops in local news including WCBS/Channel 2.

“They are playing this really close to the vest,” the insider tells Tuned In, “although Anthony is definitely a top candidate and a very popular one.”

But Mason, who will be 61 later this month, isn’t the only person being scrutinized for the high-profile assignment. Don Dahler, who got the anchor duties Saturday night, could be another possibility. The former WCBS anchor also did extensive reporting for ABC.

The network is also exploring some outside candidates.

However the insider cautions, “Obviously with the [Katie Couric] disaster, they’re going to be very careful about bringing in someone who doesn’t fit in the carefully restored CBS tradition.”

(Photo courtesy; adweek.com)

Lou Young Retires From WCBS

One of the premiere street reporters for more than 35 years, Lou Young leaves WCBS/Channel 2. The station giving a send-off to the popular broadcast journalist, complete with a cake and champagne.

“It made me feel very loved,” Young says.

Call it retirement if you like, but Young has another idea.

“I’m taking a break and it was the perfect time to do it,” Young tells Tuned In.

However, he’s in no rush to resume his career, saying he’s fully decompressing without even watch the news.

“Somebody told me that you don’t know what you’re going to feel like until you walk through the door. I’ve just walked through the door,” Young says . “I need to spend a little time and I’ll figure it out.”

Young worked at the “Big 3” local stations, starting with nine years at WABC/Channel 7 from 1981 to 1990. He moved to WNBC until 1994, before his 23-year stint at WCBS.

“I want to spend some time with my parents,” Young says.

A multiple Emmy Award winner, Young covered some of biggest stories at WCBS, including the search for Boston Marathon bombing suspects, Hurricanes Sandy and Katrina, and, of course 9/11.

“As jobs go, it’s terrific,” Young says.

His retirement was expedited by the sudden death of longtime friend and colleague John Slattery in 2014.

“You keep putting stuff off because, in the back of your mind, you think you’re going to live forever. But you’re not going to live forever,” Young admits. “You’re not going to get to any of this stuff unless you get out and do it. And you can’t do it if you don’t have time. And you can’t have time if you’re working.”

WPIX’s Marvin Scott Tells Tales of Distinguished Career

It’s a fabled career that most could not even dream of having. Marvin Scott has been a journalist in print and television for more than a half-century.

A member of the New York State Broadcasters Hall of Fame, Scott has amassed more than 10 Emmy Awards.

Now, the longtime WPIX reporter is going through the vault for his autobiography, As I Saw It: A Reporter’s Intrepid Journey (Beaufort Books).

We learn the inner workings of his street cred and building of sources and (the topical) leaks. Scott takes you overseas to war zones in Vietnam, Afghanistan and the Suez Canal. But the whole book is worth it just to read his chilling account of 9/11. Scott, frustrated and stuck in New Jersey, would not sit idly by as the towers were targets of terror.

Before cementing his legendary tenure in New York at WPIX, Scott was part of Channel 5’s upstart Ten O’Clock News. It all started for a 14-year-old Scott when he sold a photo to the New York Daily News.

He was there for the Beatles’ euphoria in 1964 when they arrived at Kennedy Airport and the dread 16 years later when John Lennon was gunned down.

Scott delves into some investigative pieces that still resonate decades later and some interviews that stand the test of time like PLO leader Yassar Arafat.

There’s also a riveting behind-the-scenes account of a scoop that slipped through his fingers when President Obama would announce Osama bin Laden was dead.

The events jump off the page as Scott freshens memories and educates a new generation. You don’t have to be a broadcasting fan to enjoy this great read.

This barely scratches the surface on the 300 pages where we learn the most important of the “5 W’s” — why — because he loves the work!

Scott Stanford Returns to WPIX Sports Desk

It’s dizzying at WPIX as Scott Stanford is heading back to sports. Stanford, who just won an Emmy for Sports Anchor, is taken off news for the second time at PIX.

Last week Channel 11 terminated Sukanya Krishnan faster than expected when she refused to promote new morning anchor Betty Nguyen on her Facebook page.

With Krishnan’s exit, station honchos led by news director Amy Waldman opted for a fresh start in the AM.

Stanford joined WPIX in 2013 after serving as Bruce Beck‘s sports backup. Stanford parlayed some news anchoring opportunities at WNBC into co-anchor duties with Tamsen Fadal. However, within nine months, Stanford lost his news gig and settled into first his sports role at PIX.

But Stanford had another chance to explore news, this time alongside Krishnan on the morning news.

For all that bouncing and becoming a yo-yo, not to mention confusion for viewers, Stanford just keeps on rolling along (I can hear him singing it now)!

If you’re wondering what happens to Andy Adler, sources say the ball’s in her court whether to return to weekend sports anchoring. She and Stanford would also host Mets and Yankees pre- and post-game shows and other sports features.

Adler just announced her engagement to Doug Ellin, the 49-year-old creator of Entourage.

As for Nguyen’s new co-anchor, we’re told the station is searching for candidates with reporter Dan Mannarino (who is covering the terrorist attack in Manchester) as a possibility.

Mannarino’s one anchor stint at Channel 11 wasn’t the most memorable other than its length, lasting just a few weekends with the venerable Kaity Tong.

But as we see at PIX, everything is new again.

Sukanya Krishnan Fired at WPIX

Viewers hoping to bask in the final week with Sukanya Krishnan on the PIX Morning News are in for a rude awakening.

The longtime anchor, who emotionally told the audience earlier this month that she’s exiting Channel 11, was fired after Thursday’s broadcast.

Sources tell TunedIn, her exit is connected to Betty Nguyen, an accomplished former CNN, MSNBC and CBS anchor, as the replacement for Krishnan. We’re told that news director Amy Waldman forced talent to promote the new hire on their social media pages. Krishnan, though, balked, saying in effect, “I’m still here,”

That’s when the ugliness ensued for the 16-year PIX star.

Waldman, sources say, felt it was insubordination and led directly to her calling Krishnan’s agent about the termination.

But the embattled manager went one step further. In quite the Trumpian move, we’re told she ordered staff, in particular morning co-anchor Scott Stanford, to never mention Krishnan’s name on the air or face their own firing. As late as Tuesday, a PIX spokesperson confirmed she was staying through Friday, May 26, the last day of the sweeps period.

Kala Rama takes Krishnan’s spot at the anchor desk on a temporary basis.

However, Stanford’s future at PIX is still uncertain. Insiders say time is running out for him to decide between a sports return in the evening or leaving the station.

Krishnan joined PIX in 2001 and the became a mainstay of their morning newscast for 13 years.

NY1 Reporter Roger Clark Trick Shot Goes Viral

Call it the legend of Roger Clark.

Most of us can only dream about making a half-court heave. The morning NY1 reporter has now done it twice live on the cable channel.

In his last bout with sports glory on Friday, Clark, while previewing the New York Liberty season, lets loose a mid-court prayer. Oh, did I mention it was backwards?

But this is no accident. Clark pulled off the same feat with the Harlem Globetrotters in December 2015. That time, though, he went “glass” for the crazy shot at a Brooklyn gym.

Last week, it was pure swish by Clark. Adding to the drama, anchor Pat Kiernan put the pressure on, saying he had 10 seconds left in the live window. Instead, he drills the basket in his first try as Liberty legend Teresa Weatherspoon, former player Kym Hampton and the team mascot go estactic. We can hardly wait for the encore!

Below is a montage of the basketball wizardry Clark tweeted recently.

So Long to Suki at WPIX, Tribune Sale Impending

Shocking to many, long overdue to others, Sukayna Krishnan is leaving WPIX. The veteran morning anchor gives an emotional announcement at the close of Wednesday’s broadcast.

“My time here at PIX is coming to end.”

She’s leaving at the end of May with no mention of future plans.

Krishnan started at Channel 11 in 2001 and rose to morning anchor in 2004. But there was rarely a dent in the ratings and, one by one, co-anchors were shown the door. Krishnan, for better or worse, was the constant for waking up watchers.

She put her best foot forward, decking out in a blue dress for the New York Emmy Awards Saturday night. Krishnan wrote on her Facebook page, “I wasn’t going to go but I decided that life is too short and every moment and accomplishment must be celebrated, especially now.”

Krishnan could have exited with some sweet revenge, but didn’t take home the Best News Anchor award.

In a touch of irony, the trophy goes to Kori Chambers, who had been Krishnan’s morning co-anchor before being switched to weekends and fill-in weeknights. Double irony, as Chambers’  AM replacement Scott Stanford wins for Best Sports Anchor.

It was Stanford who had the duty of giving his on-air partner the final two minutes for a rare “timed release’ goodbye,

“Your support have given me confidence to be me, the strength to embrace every challenge, and that special bond is something I will always carry with me,” Krishnan tells viewers while fighting through tears.

Expect another emotional moment when Krishnan says her final goodbye in a few weeks.

In March, TunedIn speculated that her time might be running out at WPIX. It’s uncertain if this is a salary dump related to the impending Tribune sale.

Three players are in the running: Fox, Sinclair and Nexstar, but Bloomberg News reports Sinclair Broadcasting is close to completing the acquisition at $45 a share to gain its first foothold in New York City. However, sources say Fox is trying to block the deal.

A Fox purchase would be the most devastating to staffers on East 42nd Street. 21st Century Fox has an interest because many of their affiliates are on Tribune stations. An insider says in a best case scenario they sell off Channel 11.

Fox could keep WPIX and let the bloodletting ensue. Not competing against its WNYW/Channel 5, Fox could cancel the morning show and early evening broadcast, while moving the 10 p.m. newscast to 11 p.m. If it sounds familiar, think WWOR. Of course, we remember how that ended? The other possibility—like the Channel 9 debacle–pull the plug on news entirely and have another clearinghouse for Fox programming.

“Tribune wants to get out of the television business,” one PIX insider says.

Insider: Krishnan Apprehensive About Future at WPIX

Time heals all wounds. Unless, of course, you’re referring to WPIX. With ratings still in the tank, nerves are rattled that an overhaul is on the horizon. But for now, morning executive producer Chuck Carter is exiting this week.

He and news director Amy Waldman didn’t forge the best relationship. Ironically, while many staffers are upset with the station direction under Waldman, sources tell Tuned In that Carter is no fan favorite either among the East 42nd faithful.

“I can’t tell you how many people have left under Amy’s watch,” a source says.

Insiders say another big name could join that list as veteran morning anchor Sukanya Krishnan is apprehensive about her future at Channel 11. Her contract is expected to expire within weeks, and a move could free up large sums of cash for Tribune. Krishnan is part of PIX since 2001, and was named anchor of the Morning Show in 2004.

Many people speculate that upstart 5 a.m. anchor Kala Rama could be waiting in the wings to replace Krishnan.

The Morning Show did lose its longtime meteorologist Linda Church, who left in January, despite begging her to stay on through the February sweeps period. She declined. We’re told Church had become increasingly fed up with management.

For those who remain looking up in the ratings at the other newscasts, they continue to scratch their collective heads wondering how Waldman is still in charge.

One source calling her “clueless” and others say she should have been fired a long time ago.

Channel 7 Anchor Announces ‘Death’ of Hillary Clinton

joeHours after Hillary Clinton apparently collapsed abruptly exiting the 9/11 ceremony, WABC-TV hit the air for its 6 p.m. newscast. Instead of leading with the pneumonia diagnosis, anchor Joe Torres told viewers about the “death” of the Democratic candidate for president.

Channel 7 spokesman Jim Gorham says, “During a live introduction to a story about the health of Hillary Clinton, Joe Torres inadvertently said “death” when he meant to say “health.”

That’s fine, but a mistake of that magnitude should have been caught immediately by Torres, if not anyone else in the studio or control room.

However, the spokesman says there was no apology because it was “clear from the context of the story, the reporters’ information and graphics on the screen that Secretary Clinton was alive and recovering.”

Actually, that’s not completely true.

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Kaity Tong Back to Weekends at WPIX; Kori Chambers Heads to Weeknights

kori-chambersWhile Brenda Blackmon is officially out as anchor at WPIX, her 6:30 p.m. co-anchor is staying put at the station. Kaity Tong is returning to weekends as solo anchor of evening broadcasts.

Multiple sources confirm Kori Chambers (left) is moving to weeknights, where he’ll join Tamsen Fadal at 5 p.m. John Muller maintains his anchor role alongside Fadal at 6 and 10 p.m.

PIX has been unable to find the secret sauce for sustaining an audience, leaving staffers perpetually frustrated.

“This is the third anchor switch in less than two years,” One station insider tells Tuned In. “All management is doing is rearranging bad talent that doesn’t work in any daypart.”

Tribune ended the 6:30 newscast Friday. Viewers will get the syndicated game show Celebrity Name Game instead in that time slot. 

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