While the focus of most people’s attention at Channel 11 has been evenings and Tamsen Fadal, Tuned In has learned exclusively that morning is about to get a makeover.
Frances Rivera, the PIX Morning News co-anchor, has accepted a buyout. Insiders say she will stay on the air until the end of the month.
Tuned In attempted to reach the station for comment.
Rivera teamed with the popular Sukanya Krishnan for the three-hour morning program beginning in August 2011. It could be that viewers never warmed up to Rivera. As in the evening, the ratings have been poor opposite powerhouse Good Day New York at WNYW, although Channel 11’s best numbers have actually been in the a.m.
“When it comes to news anchor teams, good chemistry is the hardest thing to find. And here’s proof positive,” an insider says. “Frances was liked as a person, but you didn’t have to be a Rhodes scholar to notice the lack of, or existence of, any chemistry between her and Sukanya. I’m surprised she lasted as long as she did.”
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.”
It’s good to be the king! OK, maybe the Mel Brooks line is a bit strong. But it was all about WPIX this morning with a special 10 minutes of coverage as Prince Harry toured Seaside Heights, New Jersey with Governor Christie.
At 11 a.m. WPIX pre-empted Jerry Springer for morning anchors Sukanya Krishnan and Frances Rivera. Reporter Ann Mercogliano exuberantly told viewers that she hoped to get a moment with the prince. However, that standout TV moment never happened as Harry didn’t make his way down the receiving line. Mercogliano was smooth as she spoke to onlookers. In her few minutes on the air, a comfortable Mercogliano put her personality on display, saying about the twenty-something prince, “he does look good!”
Mercogliano is no stranger to covering the royals. Her reporting from Kate and William’s wedding for WNBC in 2011 was Emmy-nominated.
We were unable to find any other outlets, local or national, that aired live footage. Surprisingly, even WWOR, did we mention Seacaucus, New Jersey based WWOR, was also no-show.
It was a long day’s journey into night. But for WPIX, it was a riveting day of coverage from Boston as the second marathon suspect was ultimately captured.
WPIX, which welcomed a new news director this week, was the place to be Friday for the best video and reporting.
It started at 4 a.m. with morning anchors Sukanya Krishnan and Frances Rivera, who worked into the afternoon. Channel 11′s non-stop coverage rolled on with Tamsen Fadal and Larry Mendte taking over the anchor desk.
PIX had several reporters on the scene in and around the Boston area, including Jay Dow and Erica Pitzi.
But the day belonged to James Ford. The usual morning reporter started his day at 2 a.m. During the next 21 hours, Ford provided viewers with some of the most riveting images. Ford and his videographer became “embedded” with the S.W.A.T. and police. His “war zone” reporting was must see TV, even when cops ordered the cameras on the ground for safety purposes.
WPIX resumed regular programming Friday night at 11:30.