Tag Archives: Rob Schmitt

Michael Jack Successor Expected to be Named Monday

mj+new1WNBC is ready to hand over the reigns of power. Tuned In has learned that Channel 4 is holding a staff meeting at 9:30 a.m. Monday.

While details haven’t been revealed, it appears the newsroom will learn that WCAU President and GM Eric Lerner is succeeding Michael Jack in those roles.

At that same time, sources say NBC’s WCAU in Philadelphia has called its own full staff meeting.

Jack previously announced his Channel 4 retirement for June. He has been in charge of the NBC flagship station for five years.

During Jack’s tenure at 30 Rock, Comcast completed its purchase of General Electric, which was finalized in March 2013.

Under Jack’s leadership, there was tumult in the ratings. A handful of anchor changes dotted the landscape in the last few years and viewers needed a scorecard to know the talent.

Tom Llamas left for ABC News last year, causing Channel 4 to form a split newscast at 5 p.m. Speaking of split, the anchor team of Chuck Scarborough and Shiba Russell was broken up in early 2014. Russell, hired in the summer of 2012, was swapped with Sibila Vargas, who along with Rob Schmitt was brought in from KCBS in Los Angeles. Another anchor added to the roster was Stacey Bell, who joined WNBC on the weekend desk last year.

Jack’s WNBC bio indicates that he managed the local website nbcnewyork.com and additional platforms including taxis and PATH trains.

Lerner has been with WCAU for four years. Prior to that, he had a six-year stint as GM at KIRO, the CBS affiliate in Seattle.

Photo: nbcnewyork.com

WNBC Moves Forward at 5 p.m. with Split Newscast

WNBC140908172527Without any publicity or fanfare, WNBC quietly unveiled its revamped 5 p.m newscast without Tom Llamas.

Channel 4 opted to break the traditional one-hour broadcast into two separate 30-minute shows. Chuck Scarborough and Sibila Vargas anchor the first half. We’re told the “anchor” leg features a rotating male presence of either David Ushery or Rob Schmitt, alongside Shiba Russell.

At first blush we notice the previously demoted Russell is getting the short end of the stick again. She has the noon duties but loses a pivotal half hour of face time.

Of course, Chuck and Sibila are already the station workhorses as the lead team at 6 and 11 p.m.

It’s uncertain if this is a stopgap measure. In addition, Tuned In learned the station did not let the staff know about the changes.

“Newsroom insiders are concerned these changes will be confusing to viewers,” a source admits.

At 5 p.m. viewers have multiple options for local news. WCBS and WABC, usually performing better than WNBC, are joined by WPIX and WNYW.

Several years ago, Channel 2 tried a split 5 p.m. news that featured a lighter news slant at the bottom of the hour. There’s no word on what the direction for WNBC’s version will be.

Llamas departed for ABC News last month.

Sibila Vargas In; Is Shiba Russell On the Way Out at WNBC?

siblia-vargasWith the announcement that Sibila Vargas (left) is coming on board at WNBC in October, we’re left to speculate how the anchor changes will impact the station, and most notably, Shiba Russell.

Since she walked in the door at 30 Rock in 2011, Russell was tapped as the next Sue Simmons. But if the media helped create that idea, station management was on the same path. Seemingly from day one, she was “the” Simmons back-up. Of course, by last June she was understudy no more, when Simmons left WNBC. Russell joined another market legend Chuck Scarborough at 11. However, since Simmons returned from back surgery, she was no longer on the 6 p.m., leaving Scarborough to fend for himself.

Now with New York native Vargas installed as the 6 p.m. anchor with Scarborough, there could be a case of turf wars among the ladies. Vargas becomes the first evening female anchor to land at WNBC since Russell’s rapid ascension.

“I grew up watching WNBC. The news was always first-rate,” Vargas tells Tuned In. “Now I’m going to be part of the team. I am beyond thrilled! It is an honor.”

Is there more to this move?

Well WNBC has been in an uncharacteristic fight for last place, and that’s not all Russell’s fault. As much as loyal viewers lit up the blogosphere saying they’d stop watching the station without Sue. They wouldn’t, and didn’t. The bigger problem, as one insider tells Tuned In, quality has been sorely lacking.

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Rob Schmitt Appears Nervous, Blows On-Air Sign-Out in WNBC Debut

SchmittIt was an inauspicious start for Rob Schmitt at WNBC.

The former KCAL/KCBS anchor and reporter began on yesterday’s 5 p.m. broadcast reading a 90-second story about the death of Glee actor Cory Monteith.

It appears the station’s decision to ease Schmitt into the newscast slowly was a smart move. Nerves clearly took hold of him. His voice wasn’t commanding, he had awkward pauses scattered about, and Schmitt concluded his live piece by giving an errant close to the story, “Rob Schmitt, NBC 4 News New York,” instead of “News 4 New York.”

We’ll give Schmitt the benefit of the doubt, and assume he won’t be another Steve Trout, a decent ballplayer who couldn’t handle the New York spotlight. Trout crashed and burned with the Yankees in the 1980s.

Schmitt was hired last month from the CBS-owned stations in Los Angeles as weekday general assignment reporter, and ultimately to be Channel 4’s noon anchor.

Photo: tveyes.com

WNBC’s Tom Llamas Drops Noon for Reporting; Rob Schmitt Hired From SoCal

rob-schmittBy JERRY BARMASH
(@jerrybarmash)

Channel 4 is going bi-coastal with its new hire, Rob Schmitt (left) from CBS’ duopoly KCBS/KCAL in Los Angeles.

Schmitt, who makes his New York debut July 15, will anchor the weekday noon broadcast with a rotation of Erika Tarantal and Contessa Brewer.

Schmitt, who was with the CBS’ stations in L.A. since 2011, will also handle reporting for WNBC’s  5 and 6 p.m. newscasts.

It also frees up noon co-anchor Tom Llamas to expand his reporting duties with the station’s investigative unit—the I Team. Viewers will still see Llamas, who won an Emmy as New York’s top anchor, with Shiba Russell at 5 p.m.

“I’m incredibly excited,” Llamas tells Tuned In.

Llamas’ plate is even more full when you add his contributions to NBC News.

“It’s really a dream opportunity,” Llamas says. “I don’t know if any other television journalist on the planet has that type of opportunity. So I’m really looking forward to it.”

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