We barely had time to take a deep breath since the night time changes at PIX, bouncing Scott Stanford to sports and rolling out the red carpet for John Muller (more in a moment), when another salvo struck.
The PIX (early) Morning News was upended today, right before our eyes. Marysol Castro, who rejoined Channel 11 in September, anchored for the final time today. Tuned In confirmed it from multiple sources and she alluded to her dismissal in the closing seconds with on-air partner Dan Mannarino.
“Hey dude, it was nice knowing you,” Castro told Mannarino.
“It was fun,” he replied.
As for Mannarino, his status is a bit muddy. He’s been part of numerous rumors for months. But we’ve learned on good authority that Mannarino is taking some time off to decide on his future. Another definite, if Mannarino returns it won’t be behind the anchor desk.
The Dan Mannarino era is drawing to a close at WPIX. Sources confirm to Tuned In that Mannarino will be removed from his anchor chair in the coming weeks. Mannarino co-anchors the PIX Morning News early edition with Marysol Castro. Sources say Mannarino will stay on as a reporter at WPIX for the short term.
Mannarino joined WPIX as a reporter in September 2011. He got his first taste of anchoring on Channel 11 last June, teaming with Kaity Tong for the weekend broadcasts. However, that pairing was panned, and Mannarino was bounced from the newscasts after just three weekends.
CBS Radio’s NOW-FM/WNOW-FM and Tribune’s WPIX/Channel 11 are adding to their display cases.
The stations scored the most wins at the annual Awards for Excellence in Broadcasting presented by the New York State Broadcasters Association.
Despite perpetually poor ratings, PIX’s talent was recognized by the NYSBA, with four trophies.
Channel 11 was named winner in the Outstanding Hard News Story and Outstanding Feature News Story categories.
WPIX also was selected this week as Outstanding Locally Originated Newscast for coverage of the East River ferry crash in January. Reporters Dan Mannarino, James Ford, Kirsten Cole, and Arthur Ch’ien were singled out for their work.
Dan Mannarino is out as weekend co-anchor on WPIX. Sources tell Tuned In that Mannarino did his final weekend behind the desk on June 16. He’ll remain a reporter at Channel 11.
It was a failed experiment from the start for news director Mark Effron, who teamed the veteran Kaity Tong, 65, with the thirty-something enterprising reporter.
“It’s a case of age versus beauty,” a source cracks. “And beauty wins out,”
From the outset of joining PIX, Effron made no allusions internally about undoing the Bill Carey era. As we reported last month, he told staffers that the station is in the process of employing the standard second anchor, at this point with Tamsen Fadal. But the recent weekend movement caught many insiders by surprise.
The Tong and Mannarino on-air partnership, which survived only three weekends, started June 1.
“The problem with Dan is that he looked and sounded at least 10 years younger than he actually was,” the source says. “When you looked at the totality of the Kaity and Dan anchor team, what defined the two of them? Nothing.”
The process is underway at WPIX. Executives are in search for that perfect on-air tandem to combine with Tamsen Fadal on evening newscasts.
As we reported earlier this month, news director Mark Effron told staffers that he wants to find a co-anchor for Fadal at 5 and 10 p.m.
Tuned In has learned exclusively that WPIX has auditioned several would-be candidates, male and female, for the position. Also of note, it was a second try for the female anchors, who also were brought in to succeed Jodi Applegate.
One of the most bizarre candidates is actor/comedian Brian Unger (top). Insiders say the charter correspondent on The Daily Show from 1996 to 1999 auditioned for the anchor role on the real newscast earlier this month.
One source cracks, “You have a station tanking and this is the best they can come up with?”
Unger, who has appeared in several TV shows and movies, does have some minor news experience. He was a fill-in host for Countdown with Keith Olbermann on MSNBC.
There’s been a lot of buzz about who will join Tamsen Fadal as WPIX weeknight co-anchor. But while we wait for the talent to be chosen, news director Mark Effron has made a somewhat surprising announcement.
Dan Mannarino has been named a co-anchor on the weekend broadcasts with Kaity Tong, beginning Saturday night at 6.
A spokesperson tells Tuned In that the pairing is for the summer.
It is just the latest in a long line of changes removing all connections to Bill Carey as news director.
The solo anchor experiment at PIX was started under Carey’s watch. Jim Watkins, first displaced to weekends in 2010, gave way to former co-anchor Tong in October 2011.
Mannarino, whose stock is rising at Channel 11 in his 2 1/2 years on the job, was part of the reporting team from Italy twice– for the elevation of Archbishop Dolan and in March as the cardinals voted for a new pope.
Earlier this month, Tuned In learned exclusively that Effron unveiled his plans for PIX at a meeting with staffers, which included teaming Fadal with a partner. There was apparently no mention of adding a second anchor on weekends.
We know about Magee Hickey‘s talent as a news reporter. She has been on our TV screens for more than 30 years. It may not come across on the air, but if Hickey puts her mind to something–it gets done.
Over the weekend, WPIX’s Hickey showed off her altruistic abilities as she ran the 3rd annual Cabaret event to benefit the Lawrence F. Hickey Center in the Bronx, which teaches students with developmental disabilties. The school honors Magee’s dad, who was a tireless volunteer at the school, run by Astor Children’s Services.
With that backdrop, Hickey called her friends and colleagues from the many TV stations she’s worked for to give their time by performing.
Hickey opened the event with a self-effacing parody of the My Fair Lady classic, I’ve Grown Accustomed to Her Face. No one can accuse the popular redhead of being an introvert. She swayed and held the high notes. The tone for the afternoon was set when she walked on stage with a mic stand, complete with mic flags representing the six New York broadcast outlets she’s worked for during her career.
In the next 90 minutes, the stage at the Convent of the Sacred Heart in Manhattan, where Magee went to school, was lined with her PIX co-workers.