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.
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.
Two stations are sponsoring health expos later this year.
WNBC/Channel 4 is first up. The station joins forces with the New York Giants for the inaugural Health and Fitness expo. It is free to the public, June 22 and June 23 at Metlife Stadium.
The family-geared expo will walk the field where the Giants and Jets call home.
Pavilions will include a community health screening area that will provide comprehensive health assessments designed to educate guests about a variety of health risks. Wellness pavilions will spotlight the most effective measures for disease prevention. Among the activities, attendees can take free screenings for cholesterol, diabetes, and hearing. There will also be tests for prostate cancer, blood pressure, and BMI (body mass index).
WNBC sports anchor Bruce Beck will be on hand throughout that June weekend, along with other Channel 4 anchors and reporters, plus some of the top Giants players will meet fans and sign autographs.
“Our expo is designed to serve the community at large and its many health-related issues,” said Michael Jack, WNBC president and GM. “The expo will be a fun, family day that is absolutely free to the public and guaranteed to have something for everyone.”
If that doesn’t make you healthy enough, WPIX can further scratch that itch.