Tag Archives: Kori Chambers

So Long to Suki at WPIX, Tribune Sale Impending

Shocking to many, long overdue to others, Sukayna Krishnan is leaving WPIX. The veteran morning anchor gives an emotional announcement at the close of Wednesday’s broadcast.

“My time here at PIX is coming to end.”

She’s leaving at the end of May with no mention of future plans.

Krishnan started at Channel 11 in 2001 and rose to morning anchor in 2004. But there was rarely a dent in the ratings and, one by one, co-anchors were shown the door. Krishnan, for better or worse, was the constant for waking up watchers.

She put her best foot forward, decking out in a blue dress for the New York Emmy Awards Saturday night. Krishnan wrote on her Facebook page, “I wasn’t going to go but I decided that life is too short and every moment and accomplishment must be celebrated, especially now.”

Krishnan could have exited with some sweet revenge, but didn’t take home the Best News Anchor award.

In a touch of irony, the trophy goes to Kori Chambers, who had been Krishnan’s morning co-anchor before being switched to weekends and fill-in weeknights. Double irony, as Chambers’  AM replacement Scott Stanford wins for Best Sports Anchor.

It was Stanford who had the duty of giving his on-air partner the final two minutes for a rare “timed release’ goodbye,

“Your support have given me confidence to be me, the strength to embrace every challenge, and that special bond is something I will always carry with me,” Krishnan tells viewers while fighting through tears.

Expect another emotional moment when Krishnan says her final goodbye in a few weeks.

In March, TunedIn speculated that her time might be running out at WPIX. It’s uncertain if this is a salary dump related to the impending Tribune sale.

Three players are in the running: Fox, Sinclair and Nexstar, but Bloomberg News reports Sinclair Broadcasting is close to completing the acquisition at $45 a share to gain its first foothold in New York City. However, sources say Fox is trying to block the deal.

A Fox purchase would be the most devastating to staffers on East 42nd Street. 21st Century Fox has an interest because many of their affiliates are on Tribune stations. An insider says in a best case scenario they sell off Channel 11.

Fox could keep WPIX and let the bloodletting ensue. Not competing against its WNYW/Channel 5, Fox could cancel the morning show and early evening broadcast, while moving the 10 p.m. newscast to 11 p.m. If it sounds familiar, think WWOR. Of course, we remember how that ended? The other possibility—like the Channel 9 debacle–pull the plug on news entirely and have another clearinghouse for Fox programming.

“Tribune wants to get out of the television business,” one PIX insider says.

Kaity Tong Back to Weekends at WPIX; Kori Chambers Heads to Weeknights

kori-chambersWhile Brenda Blackmon is officially out as anchor at WPIX, her 6:30 p.m. co-anchor is staying put at the station. Kaity Tong is returning to weekends as solo anchor of evening broadcasts.

Multiple sources confirm Kori Chambers (left) is moving to weeknights, where he’ll join Tamsen Fadal at 5 p.m. John Muller maintains his anchor role alongside Fadal at 6 and 10 p.m.

PIX has been unable to find the secret sauce for sustaining an audience, leaving staffers perpetually frustrated.

“This is the third anchor switch in less than two years,” One station insider tells Tuned In. “All management is doing is rearranging bad talent that doesn’t work in any daypart.”

Tribune ended the 6:30 newscast Friday. Viewers will get the syndicated game show Celebrity Name Game instead in that time slot. 

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WPIX Expanding News Programming to Weekend Mornings

kori-chambersChannel 11 is ready to expand its morning news coverage to seven days. Tuned In has learned WPIX will start a Sunday broadcast from 7-9 a.m. in June. The station will add Saturdays to the mix in September. No word on who will anchor the shows.

Despite the extra pre-dawn news, WPIX is seeing little to no viewers during the week as the May sweeps get underway.

Mornings got an overhaul last month when Kori Chambers was sent packing to weekend nights, while Scott Stanford gave up his sports desk for the second time, now to become Sukanya Krishnan‘s co-anchor.

Since the changes, Tuned In has received multiple comments from readers putting the blame on one person–Krishnan, who has had at least four on-air partners since arriving in 2000.

A sampling of the responses:

L. Fields writes, “After watching Sukanya’s on-air coolness toward Kori during boardcasts, I get the impression that Kori never got a fair chance. There’s a distinct difference in her demeanor and [the] interaction now that Stanford is in the seat.” 

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Big Changes at WPIX; Chambers to Weekends, Stanford Back to News

Scott_StanfordIt’s time to play musical “anchor” chairs. WPIX is making major moves to its weekday morning show and weekend news programming starting Monday.

First off, Kori Chambers has been demoted to weekend nighttime anchor. The rumbles about his dismissal due to lack of chemistry with Sukanya Krishnan have been almost immediate since his arrival in 2013.

Its another news turn for longtime sports anchor Scott Stanford (left), who replaces Chambers. Stanford, whose teaming with Tamsen Fadal didn’t spark enough interest, has been an occasional fill-in opposite Krishnan, since the failed experiment.

Krishnan is the one constant in the ever-changing PIX morning landscape. In fact, by last count, that’s at least four partners she’s worked with on the sunrise newscast since joining the station in 2000.

kori-chambersWith Chambers (right) flying solo on the weekend, that means Kala Rama and Craig Treadway are being shuffled too. The team just started in January, and are now headed to a revamped 5 a.m. PIX Morning News lead-in. 

Rama, whose husband is WPIX morning reporter Anthony DiLorenzo, joined PIX this year from Channel 7, but Treadway is another PIX lifer, headed back to his morning roots.

Andy Adler takes the weeknight sports duties.

“It’s just another shift of chairs on the Titanic,” says a PIX insider. “The next move is obviously a change in management.”

Of course, Channel 11 has their own spin room in place.

Tuned In obtained the email News Director Amy Waldman sent to staff Wednesday.

“To maximize the talents of our news team, we are making some exciting changes in the news department.”

Waldman wrote that Chambers will handle political coverage during the weeknight newscasts. He’ll also work on special consumer reports.

Despite Waldman saying she’s excited about plans for the upcoming book, ratings have been regularly tanking across all dayparts.

Additionally, Dan Mannarino writes on his Facebook page that he’s switching from morning drive to night side reporting.

WPIX Anchor Kirstin Cole Makes Inappropriate ‘Beanie’ Comment

WPIX140721072034A seasoned anchor/reporter crossed the line Monday morning. WPIX morning anchor Kirstin Cole, joining Kori Chambers, made a remark that could be deemed anti-Semitic. At the very least, it was inappropriate.

Leading into a story about a new Starbucks in Williamsburg, Chambers told viewers, “Some of the hipsters are all riled up this morning.”

Cole added, “Their beanies are all askew. They don’t know what do with themselves.”

She also gave a visual to viewers, straightening the mock headgear.

Let’s assume for a moment that Cole was intending to connect the beanies comment to Chambers’ hipsters, If that’s the case, then she is insensitive. Cole is certainly aware of the large Hasidic Jewish community in Williamsburg and the yarmulkes they wear.

Whether it was truly planned as a slur doesn’t really matter. The remark was still shocking and Cole should be held accountable.

Many are outraged by her “performance.”

“It was not the smartest thing to say,” a viewer tells Tuned In.

Incidentally, the Cole and Chambers introduction did not properly lead into the Joe Mauceri live report. There was no debate, no drama, not even a sound bite from people on the street, for or against the coffee shop opening.

Instead, Mauceri turned the story into “where you get your morning coffee.” He read some social media replies.

The reporter admitted seeing “people go in and out” at the new coffeehouse. But no reaction from customers was shown.

Marysol Castro Out, Dan Mannarino Uncertain, as WPIX Cuts Early Morning Newscast

WPIX140605055949We 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.

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WPIX Going the Contest Route to Elicit Morning Ratings

PIX11_LogoHow bad are the WPIX ratings in the morning? Non-existant would best describe them. The station wants to break out of the funk with a May sweeps giveaway to sway viewers from WNYW.

Tuned In has learned exclusively that WPIX will foot the bill for one year’s worth of mortgage or rent for four viewers. The desperate move is called Home Free Friday, and starts April 28. Winners will be announced each Friday in May on the PIX Morning News with Sukanya Krishnan and Kori Chambers.

We’re told that up to $1,500 per month will be handed out, and as much as $18,000 in total to one winner for their yearly mortgage or rent payment.

Viewers will watch for a code word during the morning broadcast. They will text the word to enter the drawing.

WPIX to Add 11 A.M. and Weekend Morning Newscasts

PIX11_LogoWPIX, which has been in a morning ratings freefall opposite WNYW/Channel 5, will add news programming to the schedule.

Sources confirm to Tuned In that management is in the process of creating a daily, one-hour newscast at 11 a.m.

But don’t expect the late morning newscast to help promote PIX Morning News anchors Sukanya Krishnan and Kori Chambers. We’re told that Channel 11 is searching for anchors from outside of the station.

“You can only stretch a fiscal rubber band so far before it breaks,” the source said, adding, “You have to make money to spend money. You need to look no further than Eyewitness News [WABC].”

For those unable to wait for noon, the 11 a.m hour is a good alternative, although The View and The Price is Right are formidable foes.

There’s more movement at WPIX. The Tribune flagship will add weekend news shows from 6-9 a.m., also with talent not currently on the Channel 11 roster. Tuned In has learned that viewers can expect to see the daily and weekend changes by May.

Update: WPIX News Director Mark Effron tells Tuned In, “We’re looking at a whole number of options.”

Passionate Viewers Sound-Off About Frances Rivera Dismissal from WPIX

FrancesWhile the buzz has been surrounding night time changes at WPIX, notably Scott Stanford‘s ascension to news anchor, the public is speaking in record numbers about the morning newscasts.

It’s three months since our breaking news filled the Internet that Frances Rivera would not have her contract renewed. We’ve received feedback from dozens of people and we’re still getting comments. Here is a sample of some strong opinions posted to Tuned In.

Chrissy Craig writes, “I thought Francis Rivera did an awesome job…loved her smile…sense of humor and her charm.”

Barbara Fortini says, “I am completely floored! I have been looking for Frances for weeks. Frances Rivera is a very pleasant, professional and enjoyable to watch… Too bad for PIX because many people will not be viewing the news without Frances at the helm.”

Joel Santos concurs, “I thought Francis was out on emergency leave or maybe even vacation, but now morning after morning of not seeing her around, it was obvious something was wrong. I googled Francis Rivera to read this heart wrenching news! This must’ve been a decision based on politics,  because anyone who tuned into the PIX11 Morning News saw there was nothing but chemistry on the air between Sukanya and Francis.”

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Turmoil Persists at WPIX; Managers Have ‘No Clue’

PIX11_LogoDespite the ray of hope of Scott Stanford set to become a full-time news anchor with Tamsen Fadal, WPIX is still the home of eggshells and awkwardness.

Since that mega announcement, Tuned In has learned that reporter Hilary Whittier was fired yesterday. But news director Mark Effron was forced to do a temporary about face. The station realized that she couldn’t be axed without alerting the unions, two in fact. Instead, she’ll report to the newsroom for the next 30 days, likely without being seen on the air.

“She’s a nice person, but too green for the streets of New York,” one source contends.

Whittier, as a multimedia journalist, is a rare commodity. She shoots her own pieces, except when doing a story live. We’re told that Whittier, with PIX since 2011, was to be fired because they don’t like her work or her personality.

There was another behind-the-scenes maneuver today. Morning news executive producer Howard Dorsey resigned. His departure had been rumored for several weeks as, sources say, this was not Dorsey’s decision. He started at Channel 11 in 2010. Senior executive producer Sharon von Zweiten is expected to fill the gap on an interim basis.

Effron has also decided to make WPIX the alternate news station for New York City. We’re told he discussed the issue last week, placing a moratorium on the use of stories outside of the five boroughs. An insider says the concentration of coverage will be Brooklyn and Queens, “as that’s where the meters are.”

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