Tag Archives: Bill Beutel

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

Death of WCBS Reporter John Slattery Shocks Colleagues

johnslattery1He was a consumate pro, who was one of the great New York TV street reporters. John Slattery passed away suddenly early Thursday. Tuned In has learned that the veteran WCBS-TV reporter died of an apparent heart attack in his sleep. A spokesperson could not confirm his cause of death. He was 63. His death comes just hours after filing a story for the station.

His death stunned colleagues and competitors alike.

“We are saddened by the unexpected passing of our friend and colleague John Slattery… He was great at reporting the news and was someone we counted on to cover big stories for us, both here in New York and around the world,” Peter Dunn, WCBS President and GM, said in a statement. “Our thoughts and prayers are with John’s wife, Suzie, and their children and grandchildren.”

During a legendary 35-year run in New York City, Slattery intersected with some of the most famous anchors the market ever saw. After a stint at Philly’s WCAU, Slattery reached the big time when Eyewitness News came calling in 1979. He spent five years with WABC, where Roger Grimsby and Bill Beutel still ruled the roost. The station also added Ernie Anastos and Tom Snyder while Slattery was pounding the pavement. While there, he was part of Channel 7’s John Lennon assassination coverage. In 1981, Slattery made history as the first reporter to conduct a post-Watergate interview with former president Richard Nixon.

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Use of Social Media on Local News ‘Detrimental to the Journalistic Profession’

Grymes MacedoTelevision news has always been about garnering the ratings. That’s what news directors and GMs liked. Now, it’s not only about sales revenue and the Nielsen numbers. Today there’s a definite realignment with social media. At the same time, there’s also evidence  of “dumbing down” the broadcasts.

If you’re up early on the weekend, for example, you may have noticed a different look on WCBS-TV.

With Cindy Hsu, a solid pro, moved to weekend nights, Channel 2 is opting for style at the desk.

Teaming anchor Andrea Grymes (above left) and recent hire Diane Macedo (above right) has the feel of girls “playing TV.”

Thankfully, the initial giggles and smiles have eased. That isn’t the type of chemistry essential in New York. Altoona, maybe, but not NYC.

Grymes is a decent enough reporter, but lacks in the substance department, especially when placed behind the desk. As for Macedo, her stock is apparently rising with management as an occasional fill-in anchor at other times.

Rolland Smith logged nearly 40 years in local news, including many in New York a generation ago at the aforementioned WCBS. He says change is not always for the better.

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Milestone Moment: WNBC’s Chuck Scarborough Marks 40 Years On Air

Chuck+ScarboroughAmerica was in the final throws of Watergate. It was March 25, 1974 when Chuck Scarborough debuted on WNBC. An anchor from the outset, Scarborough has weathered various co-anchor combinations, multiple news directors and a sale of the company.

Scarborough, 70, and WNBC would not participate in this piece, but this celebration of four decades on the air in New York goes on without the legendary anchorman.

He’s the longest serving anchor in New York behind only Rafael Pineda, who has been seen uninterrupted on Univision’s WXTV/Channel 41 since 1972.

Scarborough was hired to helm Channel 4’s new 5 p.m. edition of NewsCenter4. Ultimately, he was named lead anchor at 6 and 11 p.m.

He had his share of on-air partners from Pat Harper and John Hambrick, to Lynda Baquero and Jack Cafferty.

But, of course, he is most remembered for his time with Sue Simmons. Their 32-year tandem ended in June 2012. (See video clip below.)

Simmons recalls the night “Chuck and Sue” was born.

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