Tag Archives: Tamsen Fadal

Winning Mega Millions, Channel 11 Reporter Says You’re More Likely To Get Murdered

PIX11_LogoAs the mega millions jackpot soared beyond $600 million, newscasts were catching lottery fever. But one station suffered a black eye for its handling of the story. You know, those typical reports where people are asked what they would do with all that money.

We were saturated with them yesterday, but WPIX took a different tack. Reporter Arthur Chi’en delved inside the numbers, showing how rare it was to win the huge payoff. Chi’en got the expertise of a mathematical professor. Formulaic equations indicated shelling out $175 million for lottery tickets would be enough to take home the big prize.

Another common angle is to show the odds of winning the lottery as compared to other events. Chi’en threw that into his piece last night as well. The veteran Channel 11 reporter pointed out that you were “50 percent more likely to be struck by lightning.”

But Chi’en took it to another, more inappropriate level, saying you were “8,000 times more likely to be murdered.”

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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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Breaking: Larry Mendte Out at WPIX

LarryMendte_ComingCleanLarry Mendte is the latest casualty of the new WPIX regime. Tuned In has learned that Mendte is no longer with Channel 11 or Tribune. A well-placed source confirms that Mendte’s contract wasn’t renewed, but that the parting was amicable.

Astute viewers of the revamped 5 and 10 p.m. newscasts with Scott Stanford and Tamsen Fadal noticed that Mendte and his nightly commentaries have been conspicuous by their absence since earlier this month.

Mendte, a three-time Emmy winner for his PIX pieces, joined WPIX in February 2010. The commentaries originated from Channel 11, but aired on several other Tribune owned stations. Mendte’s departure is the latest purge by news director Mark Effron to eliminate the staff hired by former news director Bill Carey.

Mendte could be thought-provoking or controversial. He used his platform on multiple occasions  pressing Congress to pass the 9/11 First Responders Health and Compensation Bill. When it passed six months later, Mendte was honored with several awards

In 2011, he made a historic trip to Libya. He was the only journalist to accompany former congressman Curt Weldon on a peace mission.

There was also anchoring at PIX for the veteran broadcaster. Mendte was part of the Hurricane Sandy coverage with Kaity Tong and Jodi Applegate. He was also on the air for 12 straight hours with Fadal as one of the Boston Marathon bombing suspects was killed by police.

Photo: mediabistro.com

Scott Stanford ‘Very Excited’ to Start His News Anchor Career Tonight at WPIX

Scott_StanfordRod Stewart probably wasn’t looking into a crystal ball when he wrote Tonight’s the Night four decades ago. But he could have been talking about Scott Stanford, who makes his anchor debut this evening on WPIX.

Stanford, as has been well documented, arrives on East 42nd Street after a career in sportscasting on TV and radio. Throw in his ongoing wrestling commentating and you’ve got eyes wide and ears perked.

Related: Stanford ’95 Percent Certainty’ to Get PIX Anchor Gig

“[I’m] very excited to join the PIX11 news team tomorrow! PIX11 news will be informative and entertaining as the viewers will feel like they’re hanging out with friends!” Stanford tells Tuned In.

As the countdown is on before Stanford joins Tamsen Fadal at 5 p.m. (and 10 p.m.), it would appear that the veteran broadcaster is trying to play it straight at the start.

He spent the last four years as number two sports anchor at WNBC. Stanford has mixed song lyrics as part of his on-air shtick when telling his nightly sports story.

‘No Compelling Reason to Go to PIX for News at Night’ in Reaction to Scott Stanford as Anchor

Stanford1Now that the smoke has cleared, we’ve had time to reflect on WPIX’s big move. Scott Stanford jumps from second string sports anchor on WNBC to main news man opposite Tamsen Fadal. He gave his final signoff from the Peacock Saturday night.

Tuned In got some industry feedback to WPIX’s decision to give Stanford the high-profile role. Despite Stanford’s lack of news experience, reaction is mixed.

“it’s great for him. He’s not your normal type of anchor, which is what I think is great– one of the funniest guys in the building,” A former WNBC colleague says. “He’s very likeable, easy to work with. We’ll see what his news chops are like, but they’re definitely thinking outside the box at PIX.”

Internally at Channel 11, this insider has a different take on the Fadal-Stanford on-air partnership, which begins a week from today.

“There is just no compelling reason to go to PIX for news at night,”  the WPIX insider tells Tuned In. “Neither anchor has credibility.”

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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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Breaking: Vickie Burns to Assume Major Role at WPIX

Vickie_BurnsThe mystery of Vickie Burns at WPIX is about to be revealed. Tuned In has learned exclusively that the former WNBC news director will officially be put on payroll at Channel 11. All indications are she’ll be named a consultant alongside news director Mark Effron. As we reported, it’s a role that the veteran news executive has held since earlier this summer.

There is also a possibility that Burns could assume a newly created station manager position.

As late as yesterday, there was additional buzz that Burns would take over for Steve Charlier on the corporate level at Tribune. That rumor was squelched by this morning. Therefore, Burns, known for her demanding personality, will in based in New York.

For several weeks, as we’ve reported, Burns has become a presence in the PIX newsroom. We’re told she’s had a hand in the station’s anchor audition process.

Burns’ last TV job was as KNBC news director in 2012.

“Whatever role Burns will play it’s obvious her job is to monitor PIX11. In the past four months,
Effron and company have made some mistakes to further alienate viewers,” the insider says, referring, in part, to a format change and failed anchor pairings. “November will be critical. Not only for managers but anchors. Burns has a rolodex of New York City anchors and reporters to look towards.”

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Breaking: Frances Rivera Accepts Buyout from WPIX

WPIX130806062959The anchor winds are blowing at WPIX.

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.”

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WWOR Catches WPIX at Ten P.M., Former WNBC News Director Vickie Burns on Scene at Channel 11

PIX11_LogoWPIX is now Chasing WWOR.

It’s only taken two weeks for oft-criticized Chasing New Jersey to clip Channel 11 at 10 p.m. Despite the lack of a local news presence in the Garden State, the TMZ-esque politically focused 30-minute show has caught on with enough viewers, even though it also has caught the ire of the FCC.

On Friday, the key demographic of adults 25 to 54 gave PIX a deeper bruise as WWOR tied the Tribune O&O at 10 p.m. The two broadcasts each registered a .4. Prior to the evening newscast being dismantled in Secaucus, Fox-owned WWOR registered a .1, while PIX notched a .5.

The dismal ratings apparently prompted Tribune to make a move. Multiple sources tell Tuned In that one-time WNBC news director Vickie Burns is now part of PIX. While her role with WPIX is not clear, we’ve learned that she’s been seen in the Channel 11 newsroom during anchor auditions. The station and Tribune would not confirm Burns has joined the station or the company.

“It’s evident by the ratings, the anchors on the desk aren’t getting it done,” an insider says. “It’s also evident that [Mark] Effron and [Eric] Meyrowitz may no longer have the final say in the newsroom.”

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Source: PIX Management Made ‘Worst Move’ Letting Jodi Applegate ‘Walk Out the Door’

Jodi12Actually, she’s keeping busy at home since having her first child earlier this year via gestational carrier. But that shift from professional to family life with newborn and husband, YES’ Michael Kay, took Jodi Applegate off WPIX as the anchor at 5 and 10 p.m. late last year.

However, Applegate was trying for an 11th-hour negotiation that would keep her on PIX in some capacity. As we’ve reported, station management, led by GM Eric Meyrowitz, the last man standing from the previous regime, insisted on Applegate working full-time. In the end, a deal couldn’t be reached, and the ratings have been nothing short of awful in the intervening months with Tamsen Fadal as anchor.

For example, this Tuesday, WPIX washed away its .5 Maury lead-in with just a .1 at 5 p.m. among adults 25 to 54. The 10 p.m. broadcast improved to .7 in that key demographic, but WNYW was nearly three times better.

Several station insiders have been vocal to Tuned In about letting Applegate walk.

“Jodi had the credibility and authority to command a newscast,” one source says. “Her network and local market experience gave PIX11 the edge it needed to compete. Viewers knew who she was. She was an established anchor.”

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