The return of Jodi Applegate to local morning television awaits! Applegate, sitting on the TV sidelines since leaving WPIX late in 2012, will join The Couch for the week of September 9.
We may be seeing quite a bit of Applegate on the WLNY two-hour morning show. Co-host Lisa Kerney just gave birth to her second daughter and is on materity leave. Colleague Carolina Bermudez, who is in the last trimester of her pregnancy, will soon have her own time off.
Applegate, who had her first child earlier this year via gestational carrier, was co-host of WNYW/Channel 5’s Good Day New York from 2004 to 2008. But she is looking ahead to her Couch appearance.
“It’s a great show. Informative and fun to watch,” Applegate tells Tuned In. “I’m looking forward to hanging out on The Couch!”
Applegate is also gaining a presence on radio with fill-in hosting on WOR. She returns Friday with Jack Ford, with whom she co-anchored NBC”s Weekend Today in the 1990s, for the 10 a.m. to noon shift.
Actually, she’s keeping busy at home since having her first child earlier this year via gestational carrier. But that shift from professional to family life with newborn and husband, YES’ Michael Kay, took Jodi Applegate off WPIX as the anchor at 5 and 10 p.m. late last year.
However, Applegate was trying for an 11th-hour negotiation that would keep her on PIX in some capacity. As we’ve reported, station management, led by GM Eric Meyrowitz, the last man standing from the previous regime, insisted on Applegate working full-time. In the end, a deal couldn’t be reached, and the ratings have been nothing short of awful in the intervening months with Tamsen Fadal as anchor.
For example, this Tuesday, WPIX washed away its .5 Maury lead-in with just a .1 at 5 p.m. among adults 25 to 54. The 10 p.m. broadcast improved to .7 in that key demographic, but WNYW was nearly three times better.
Several station insiders have been vocal to Tuned In about letting Applegate walk.
“Jodi had the credibility and authority to command a newscast,” one source says. “Her network and local market experience gave PIX11 the edge it needed to compete. Viewers knew who she was. She was an established anchor.”
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.”