Tag Archives: Channel 4

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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Sibila Vargas In; Is Shiba Russell On the Way Out at WNBC?

siblia-vargasWith the announcement that Sibila Vargas (left) is coming on board at WNBC in October, we’re left to speculate how the anchor changes will impact the station, and most notably, Shiba Russell.

Since she walked in the door at 30 Rock in 2011, Russell was tapped as the next Sue Simmons. But if the media helped create that idea, station management was on the same path. Seemingly from day one, she was “the” Simmons back-up. Of course, by last June she was understudy no more, when Simmons left WNBC. Russell joined another market legend Chuck Scarborough at 11. However, since Simmons returned from back surgery, she was no longer on the 6 p.m., leaving Scarborough to fend for himself.

Now with New York native Vargas installed as the 6 p.m. anchor with Scarborough, there could be a case of turf wars among the ladies. Vargas becomes the first evening female anchor to land at WNBC since Russell’s rapid ascension.

“I grew up watching WNBC. The news was always first-rate,” Vargas tells Tuned In. “Now I’m going to be part of the team. I am beyond thrilled! It is an honor.”

Is there more to this move?

Well WNBC has been in an uncharacteristic fight for last place, and that’s not all Russell’s fault. As much as loyal viewers lit up the blogosphere saying they’d stop watching the station without Sue. They wouldn’t, and didn’t. The bigger problem, as one insider tells Tuned In, quality has been sorely lacking.

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Late Reporter John Noel Still Part of WNBC Website

Noel bioIt was an upsetting time for family, friends and viewers, touched by the death of John Noel, who succumbed to brain cancer last month.

But in a sloppy, disrespectful move, Channel 4 (as of this posting) still has Noel’s bio and photo included with all of his former colleagues.

This is not paying any honor or homage to the popular reporter. This is simply someone in the Web department screwing up. But blame can easily be affixed to management or anyone else in the newsroom for not catching the egregious mistake.

Noel’s full unedited bio remains on the station’s page, along with a link to his Twitter page.

While updating or deleting a staffer’s bio is not usually an urgent matter given their world of breaking news coverage, it is inexcusable and somewhat creepy to keep a dead man as an active member of WNBC. Can we just let the man rest in peace?

‘No Incentive’ for Chuck Scarborough and Shiba Russell, Who Complete First Year Together at WNBC

ShibaRussell_11debutBy JERRY BARMASH
(@jerrybarmash)

It still doesn’t have the familiar ring, but WNBC is marking one year for anchor team Chuck Scarborough and Shiba Russell at 11 p.m. It’s also a year since Channel 4 parted ways with the extremely popular Sue Simmons.

Not surprisingly, even the legendary anchorman found “The Chuck and Shiba Show” slow at the outset. Multiple requests to interview Scarborough and Russell for this article were denied by Channel 4.

“They’re better now than they certainly were a year ago when they started,” an insider says. “It’s been hard for Shiba. It’s been an adjustment for her too.”

That adjustment, the insider says, involves her switch from daytime to late hours, with a young daughter.

“She’s hanging in there, I think.”

Russell may have struggled in the high-profile role, but she was clearly on the fast track to succeed Simmons from day-one at 30 Rock in 2011. Also clear, Chuck and Shiba are not a long term answer for WNBC. Scarborough is 69, Russell is 37.

The numbers have been steadily below average at 11 p.m., consistently losing to WABC, and battling WCBS for second. Earlier this year, the late newscast got a kick in the teeth when NBC registered its first-ever fifth place showing in prime time.

“Sometimes you come in to work the next day after what you’ve done with your show, and it still doesn’t make a difference,” the insider states. “To have to go through that day in and day out is hard.”

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Channel 4 Reporter John Noel Dealing with Brain Cancer

John NoelBy JERRY BARMASH

WNBC reporter John Noel is hospitalized with brain cancer. He’s reportedly being treated at Lutheran Medical Center in Brooklyn. Noel, who joined WNBC in 1998, was first diagnosed with the disease last year.

Former Channel 4 anchor Sue Simmons wishes her one-time colleague a speedy recovery.

“John Noel is one of the good guys.  He battled back from the first brain cancer and came back to work,” Simmons tells Tuned In. “A job that everyone knows requires an ability to be quick on your feet.  As always he answered the bell with no fuss…no muss. We keep our fingers and toes crossed!”

A WNBC spokesperson refused to comment on Noel’s condition.

In February, the Brooklyn native appeared at the McDonald’s Black Media Legends event, at which Simmons was one of the honorees.

Noel has been off the air for at least two months. Tuned In has learned that Noel would occasionally show up at work, but was unable to cover stories.

Noel graduated summa cum laude from Brooklyn College. He earned a master’s degree at the University of Missouri School of Journalism.

An Emmy Award winner, Noel also was the recipient of the 1999 New York State Broadcasters Award.

Photo: nbcnewyork.com