Tag Archives: Jodi Applegate

Jill Nicolini Jumps from Fox 5 for a Spot on The Couch

JillOn paper, it seemed to be a great career move for Jill Nicolini. But after only two years, the popular entertainment reporter has exited WNYW/Channel 5 for WLNY. A station spokesperson confirms that Monday she debuts as traffic reporter on Live From the Couch. It’s a homecoming of sorts for Nicolini, who gained a huge following from her traffic and entertainment segments during her seven years on WPIX. The two-hour broadcast is hosted by Channel 2’s John Elliott, Lisa Kerney, and Carolina Bermudez. The latter two personalities have been on maternity leave, giving former WPIX anchor Jodi Applegate some extended “couch time.”

There is another Channel 11 connection to WCBS (WLNY sister station). John Houseman has been named a new Channel 2 executive producer. Houseman spent more than three decades in the WPIX newsroom or management. His star was at its brightest when Bill Carey left for another venture last year. Houseman got his second chance as interim news director, but ultimately the station hired Mark Effron.  Houseman was let go from the Tribune flagship in May, just days after Effron took the reins pushing him back to his longstanding assistant news director role.

Breaking: Larry Mendte Out at WPIX

LarryMendte_ComingCleanLarry Mendte is the latest casualty of the new WPIX regime. Tuned In has learned that Mendte is no longer with Channel 11 or Tribune. A well-placed source confirms that Mendte’s contract wasn’t renewed, but that the parting was amicable.

Astute viewers of the revamped 5 and 10 p.m. newscasts with Scott Stanford and Tamsen Fadal noticed that Mendte and his nightly commentaries have been conspicuous by their absence since earlier this month.

Mendte, a three-time Emmy winner for his PIX pieces, joined WPIX in February 2010. The commentaries originated from Channel 11, but aired on several other Tribune owned stations. Mendte’s departure is the latest purge by news director Mark Effron to eliminate the staff hired by former news director Bill Carey.

Mendte could be thought-provoking or controversial. He used his platform on multiple occasions  pressing Congress to pass the 9/11 First Responders Health and Compensation Bill. When it passed six months later, Mendte was honored with several awards

In 2011, he made a historic trip to Libya. He was the only journalist to accompany former congressman Curt Weldon on a peace mission.

There was also anchoring at PIX for the veteran broadcaster. Mendte was part of the Hurricane Sandy coverage with Kaity Tong and Jodi Applegate. He was also on the air for 12 straight hours with Fadal as one of the Boston Marathon bombing suspects was killed by police.

Photo: mediabistro.com

Jodi Applegate to Fill-in as Host on WLNY’s The Couch

Jodi12The 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.

Source: PIX Management Made ‘Worst Move’ Letting Jodi Applegate ‘Walk Out the Door’

Jodi12Actually, 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.”

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Dan Mannarino Bumped From WPIX Weekend Anchor Duties

278x373_reporter_danmannarinoBy JERRY BARMASH
(@jerrybarmash)

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.”

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Auditions Begin for WPIX New Co-Anchor as Ratings Continue to Falter

By JERRY BARMASH
(@jerrybarmash)

UngerThe 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.

Unger, who hosts How the States Got Their Shapes on the History Channel, provides commentary for NPR’s All Things Considered.

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Exclusive: WPIX to Add Evening Co-Anchor, Sports Reporter

PIX11_LogoBy JERRY BARMASH
(@jerrybarmash)

A fluid situation at WPIX is about to take a dramatic turn.

Tuned In has learned exclusively that Channel 11 is planning to add a co-anchor alongside Tamsen Fadal at 5 and 10 p.m. This appears to suggest that Fadal, the interim lead anchor since December, is not going anywhere.

We’re told that this is in the preliminary stages, with no timetable for the new anchor.

In a mandatory staff meeting last week, news director Mark Effron highlighted several programming changes at PIX.

A nighttime anchor team means it’s back to the future for Channel 11.

Effron is pushing PIX forward, while erasing every memory from the Bill Carey regime. Carey infamously dropped the two-anchor format of Jim Watkins and Kaity Tong for Jodi Applegate in October 2010.

Another element high on Effron’s priority list is increasing a sports presence at 10 p.m. Effron told staffers in the meeting that he’ll hire a sports reporter, which was another casualty of Carey’s time as news director.

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Exclusive: John Houseman Out at WPIX

PIX11_LogoBy JERRY BARMASH

It’s more than three decades in the making. Today, John Houseman is leaving WPIX/Channel 11.

Houseman’s exit comes just 16 days after Tribune hired Mark Effron as the station’s new news director. Houseman, the WPIX lifer, was in his second stint as interim news director. Houseman’s days appeared numbered when he was reinstated as assistant news director.

A WPIX spokesperson confirms Houseman’s departure and adds “the parting is mutual and very amicable.”

Related: WPIX Names Julie Grauert to Dual Role as Traffic and News Reporter

Houseman, who has been with Channel 11 for 31 years, assumed the acting news director role in October when Bill Carey left.

He is a graduate of Fordham University.

Next on the PIX plate is likely deciding the fate of interim evening anchor Tamsen Fadal. It’s been Fadal’s position to lose since Jodi Applegate walked away in December.

No matter who anchors, one thing is clear. Effron almost immediately brought back a traditional feel at 10 p.m., complete with the desk and chairs.

Tomorrow Marks Homecoming Day for Jodi Applegate

worBy JERRY BARMASH

Now that we have your attention, no, Jodi Applegate is not headed back to WPIX.

Instead, Applegate will relive her glory days at NBC’s Weekend Today. Tomorrow she’ll do her latest guest hosting stint for John Gambling on WOR Radio. However, this time it will be different.

The broadcasting veteran will have former Weekend Today colleague Jack Ford as her co-host.

“Should be a fun reunion,” Applegate tells Tuned In.

Related: Jodi Applegate and Michael Kay Recall Leaving WPIX

Applegate was arguably at her career zenith during her 1996-1999 tenure on Weekend Today. She followed that with the 9 a.m. Later Today.

Applegate will also host the Monday morning show on WOR, although it is not likely that Ford can join that day.

First Time Mom Jodi Applegate ‘Interested’ in TV Return ‘If Something Pops Up’

photo (4)By JERRY BARMASH

Motherhood is definitely agreeing with ex-anchor Jodi Applegate. She took a step back from her high profile gig at WPIX in December to concentrate on expanding her family with husband, YES Network’s Michael Kay.

Applegate had been the solo anchor of the station’s 5 and 10 p.m. broadcasts. Her hope was to remain with the station in a part-time capacity while caring for her three-month old daughter. Kay took to Twitter moments before she signed off at PIX to air his displeasure with the Channel 11 brass.

“That was unfortunate. It’s hard to really convey emotion in 140 characters,” Kay tells Tuned In. “I just felt that if they would have just let her do one show, she would have stayed. They needed her for two [shows] because she’s so good. But I didn’t mean any animosity toward it at all.”

The PIX anchor since October 2010, Applegate offered to tape segments, giving her a presence in both broadcasts.

“That just wasn’t in their plans,” Applegate says. “I understand. They’re running a business.”

A WPIX spokesperson tells Tuned In, “Leaving PIX11 was Jodi’s decision. We enjoyed working with Jodi and offered her several different options at the end of her contract but she chose not to renew.”

She also realizes the business of TV news and parenting can make strange bedfellows.

“Anchoring a newscast isn’t like working in a factory, except that time-wise, hours are very rigid. I was there after 11 p.m. every night. Anyone who has kids who works that shift knows that it’s tricky,” Applegate says.

Going forward, Kay wants the PIX experience to play heavily in his wife’s future endeavors.

“The next job that she has I hope that they’re more ‘mommy friendly,’” Kay says. “Not that they weren’t, but they needed her for two shows. The next job she is going to want to be a mom and be on TV.”

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