Tag Archives: Melissa Russo

Veteran Reporter Sarah Wallace Heading to WNBC

sarah

Wallace ready for new start at Channel 4

If Al Michaels can move to NBC after several decades and several Emmys at ABC, why not Sarah Wallace on the local level?

A distinguished 30-year career for Wallace at WABC/Channel 7 ended abruptly in February due to a clash of styles with news director Camille Edwards.

Now WNBC/Channel 4 is coming to the rescue, bringing the famed reporter back on the air. She’ll be a member of the station’s I-Team, investigative unit. Tuned In has learned she’ll debut shortly after Labor Day.

“Sarah Wallace is a reporter’s reporter,” Susan Sullivan, WNBC news director, said in a statement.

Insiders say Sullivan’s hard news focus is a good fit for Wallace.

WNBC is beefing up its I-Team that already includes Chief Investigative Reporter Jonathan Dienst, Melissa Russo and Pei-Sze Chang. Insiders say Wallace’s hire signals their re-emphasis on investigative journalism.

Wallace has been a fixture in New York since joining Channel 7 in 1984. The veteran reporter is beloved among viewers and newsrooms.

insiders say Wallace received dozens of calls from her former Channel 7 colleagues. The overwhelming feeling is that WABC’s loss is WNBC’s gain.

Wallace has a mantle full of trophies, from 15 Emmy Awards to a Peabody and a couple of Murrow Awards.

‘No Incentive’ for Chuck Scarborough and Shiba Russell, Who Complete First Year Together at WNBC

ShibaRussell_11debutBy JERRY BARMASH
(@jerrybarmash)

It still doesn’t have the familiar ring, but WNBC is marking one year for anchor team Chuck Scarborough and Shiba Russell at 11 p.m. It’s also a year since Channel 4 parted ways with the extremely popular Sue Simmons.

Not surprisingly, even the legendary anchorman found “The Chuck and Shiba Show” slow at the outset. Multiple requests to interview Scarborough and Russell for this article were denied by Channel 4.

“They’re better now than they certainly were a year ago when they started,” an insider says. “It’s been hard for Shiba. It’s been an adjustment for her too.”

That adjustment, the insider says, involves her switch from daytime to late hours, with a young daughter.

“She’s hanging in there, I think.”

Russell may have struggled in the high-profile role, but she was clearly on the fast track to succeed Simmons from day-one at 30 Rock in 2011. Also clear, Chuck and Shiba are not a long term answer for WNBC. Scarborough is 69, Russell is 37.

The numbers have been steadily below average at 11 p.m., consistently losing to WABC, and battling WCBS for second. Earlier this year, the late newscast got a kick in the teeth when NBC registered its first-ever fifth place showing in prime time.

“Sometimes you come in to work the next day after what you’ve done with your show, and it still doesn’t make a difference,” the insider states. “To have to go through that day in and day out is hard.”

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Debate Time in New York; NY1, WCBS, and WNBC Get Selected

WNBC new logoBy JERRY BARMASH
(@jerrybarmash)

Election season is upon us, and that means we’re about to be inundated with debates. The New York City Campaign Finance Board yesterday made its debate sponsors official. Actually the stations were announced exclusively by this reporter in April.

The confirmation and schedule is now available. NY1, WCBS/Channel 2, WNBC/Channel 4 will participate in up to 15 citywide debates, of course led by the mayoral campaign. A Democratic mayoral runoff is planned as needed. But there will be a four primary debates, two for each party.

WNBC will host one of each. The Democratic debate is scheduled for Tuesday, September 3 at 7 p.m. The following Sunday at 11:30 a.m., the Republican hopefuls spar about the issues. Both debates will also be broadcast by WOR Radio.

A WNBC spokesperson tells Tuned In that anchor David Ushery and political reporter Melissa Russo will lead the questioning. They will be joined by journalists from sister station Telemundo Nueva York/Channel 47 and the Wall Street Journal.

NY1 and WNYC broadcast the other Democratic primary on August 21 at 7, while WCBS-TV and WCBS 880/1010 WINS air the other Republican debate.

As for the general election, there are two debates on the docket. First up is the Channel 2/WCBS 880-WINS triumvirate on October 22 at 7 p.m. Sister station WLNY airs the debate in Spanish.

The next Tuesday, October 29, also at 7 p.m., WNBC and WOR 710 have the final mayoral debate.

Election day is November 5.