Tag Archives: WABC-TV

Sarah Wallace Appreciates ‘Great Support’ from Former Channel 7 Co-Workers

wabc_bio_sarahwallace_160x200There is shock and sadness still permeating Channel 7. It’s been a week since venerable investigative reporter Sarah Wallace left the station. Questions remain as to why she’s no longer part of the “Circle 7” staff after more than three exemplary decades.

Did Wallace quit? Did she get fired? Was she pushed out by News Director Camille Edwards?

While it may take time for those answers to be revealed, it is clear that the station is devastated by the abruptness of her departure and lack of closure.

“People are heartbroken at the loss. Sarah is respected, admired and loved by her colleagues,” a station insider tells Tuned In. “It’s like a death in the family.”

One veteran anchor takes it a step further for her longtime friend and colleague.

WPIX’s Kaity Tong writes on her Facebook page that Wallace is “absolutely THE most dedicated, tenacious, fair, and professional journalist around. She is brilliant. And has been brilliant for more than 30 years.”

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Mark Effron Exits WPIX; Who’s Next as News Director?

PIX11_LogoThe winds of change are blowing through WPIX. News director Mark Effron was scheduled to leave the station October 31. But insiders say he officially exited Friday. We’re told Effron was primarily a figurehead since management made the decision to let him go, something Tuned In first told you last month.

The plan on paper was to have the new news director in place for a few weeks before Effron left. With his early, albeit, not surprising departure, station brass are forced to expedite their search.

We’re told two big name television programmers were approached to succeed Effron. But they balked. Kenny Plotnik, the longtime Channel 7 news director, ultimately ended his courtship by taking a VP role at New England Cable News in September.

More recently, Dianne Doctor‘s name surfaced as a possible replacement. Doctor is VP of the mythological newsroom at Fox’s WWOR. Insiders tell Tuned In that she also declined the offer.

Speaking of Fox, Emad Asghar is the WNYW assistant news director with ties to PIX. He was another person that was interviewed for the opening, and he was another individual who said no.

While the station has received dozens of resumes, it appears to be a two-horse race.

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Death of WCBS Reporter John Slattery Shocks Colleagues

johnslattery1He was a consumate pro, who was one of the great New York TV street reporters. John Slattery passed away suddenly early Thursday. Tuned In has learned that the veteran WCBS-TV reporter died of an apparent heart attack in his sleep. A spokesperson could not confirm his cause of death. He was 63. His death comes just hours after filing a story for the station.

His death stunned colleagues and competitors alike.

“We are saddened by the unexpected passing of our friend and colleague John Slattery… He was great at reporting the news and was someone we counted on to cover big stories for us, both here in New York and around the world,” Peter Dunn, WCBS President and GM, said in a statement. “Our thoughts and prayers are with John’s wife, Suzie, and their children and grandchildren.”

During a legendary 35-year run in New York City, Slattery intersected with some of the most famous anchors the market ever saw. After a stint at Philly’s WCAU, Slattery reached the big time when Eyewitness News came calling in 1979. He spent five years with WABC, where Roger Grimsby and Bill Beutel still ruled the roost. The station also added Ernie Anastos and Tom Snyder while Slattery was pounding the pavement. While there, he was part of Channel 7’s John Lennon assassination coverage. In 1981, Slattery made history as the first reporter to conduct a post-Watergate interview with former president Richard Nixon.

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Breaking: WCBS Veteran Repoter John Slattery Dead of Heart Attack

johnslattery1He was there for the biggest stories during a career than spanned more than 30 years in New York. John Slattery died of an apparent heart attack overnight, Tuned In has confirmed. He was believed to be 63 or 64.  Slattery was a fixture at WCBS, joining Channel 2 in October 1984. The general assignment correspondent covered everything from Superstorm Sandy to the Miracle on the Hudson, and of course, the 9/11 attacks.

Prior to that, Slattery spent five years on the street at WABC-TV during the Roger Grimsby/Bill Beutel era.

Slattery was a four-time local Emmy Award winner.

More details to follow.

Photo: WCBS-TV

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.

Channel 7 Wins Another Sweeps; WPIX Finds Its Own Silver Lining

Eyewitness News TeamChalk up another ratings bonanza for WABC-TV. From morning to night, Channel 7 was the May sweeps leader of the pack. The station outdistanced the competition, either using households as the measuring stick, the key demo adults 25 to 54, or both.

The signature broadcast, Eyewitness News at 11 p.m. with Bill Ritter, Sade Baderwina, Lee Goldberg and Rob Powers, held a 44 percent advantage over the number two among households. WABC increased its lead to 47 percent with the key demo.

The gap was even more pronounced at 6 p.m. when the Ritter, Liz Cho, Goldberg and Powers team obliterated the competition. It was a 57 percent bulge in the households indicator. Channel 7 was equally strong in the key demo, registering better results than any two others newscasts combined.

Although not sustaining it for the entire month, WNBC did come out on top for a few Chuck Scarborough/Sibila Vargas 11 p.m. broadcasts. It was impressive considering where Channel 4 had been in the last few years. Continue reading

MSG Network Leads Emmy Wins; Tamsen Fadal Named Best Anchor

tamsenThe best in local news were showcased Sunday night at the New York Emmys. WPIX and WNBC took home the most awards among the over-the-air stations. The 57th annual shindig featured trophies in more than 100 categories.

Channel 4 took the top prize–Best Newscast of the Year (over 35 minutes). Telemundo Channel 41/WNJU was a big winner in the Best Morning and Evening Newscast (under 35 minutes).

WPIX’s Tamsen Fadal (left) was a surprise Best Anchor winner. She added hardware as anchor in the Politics Special category.

WCBS’ Lonnie Quinn returns to the winner’s circle as Best Weather Anchor. His colleague Chris Wragge got another Emmy in the Live Reporter category.

Former WPIX commentator Larry Mendte was honored with three awards.

In sports, MSG’s Mike Breen took home the Play-By-Play trophy, while YES’ Jim Spanarkel was named Best Analyst.

Superstorm Sandy helped WPIX earn a pair of Emmys, including News Excellence. WABC, WCBS, and WNBC also were honored for the hurricane coverage.

Winning reporters include: WCBS/WLNY’s Alice Gainer, WABC’s Sarah Wallace, and WNBC’s Chris Glorioso.

WNBC’s Cat Greenleaf and Talk Stoop picked up the award for Best Interview/Discussion.

MSG Network topped all outlets with 14 winners. YES Network finished with 13.

Milestone Moment: WNBC’s Chuck Scarborough Marks 40 Years On Air

Chuck+ScarboroughAmerica was in the final throws of Watergate. It was March 25, 1974 when Chuck Scarborough debuted on WNBC. An anchor from the outset, Scarborough has weathered various co-anchor combinations, multiple news directors and a sale of the company.

Scarborough, 70, and WNBC would not participate in this piece, but this celebration of four decades on the air in New York goes on without the legendary anchorman.

He’s the longest serving anchor in New York behind only Rafael Pineda, who has been seen uninterrupted on Univision’s WXTV/Channel 41 since 1972.

Scarborough was hired to helm Channel 4’s new 5 p.m. edition of NewsCenter4. Ultimately, he was named lead anchor at 6 and 11 p.m.

He had his share of on-air partners from Pat Harper and John Hambrick, to Lynda Baquero and Jack Cafferty.

But, of course, he is most remembered for his time with Sue Simmons. Their 32-year tandem ended in June 2012. (See video clip below.)

Simmons recalls the night “Chuck and Sue” was born.

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Prepping for the Oscars with WABC’s Sandy Kenyon

KenyonTime for the tuxes and gowns to glisten the Oscar red carpet. We recently sat with WABC-TV entertainment reporter Sandy Kenyon to pick his brain about this year’s favorites.

Kenyon hosts an annual pre-Oscar show, The Road to Gold: An Academy Award Preview, Saturday night on Channel 7, 24 hours before ABC broadcasts the festivities. It re-airs Sunday afternoon. He says the 86th edition may spread the wealth among the contenders.

“I think this year is a year where the long held promise of diversity finally flowered a bit,” Kenyon tells Tuned In.

Fruitvale Station and The Butler, films showcasing the plight and positives of African Americans, were shut out of any nominations. But Kenyon says that doesn’t take away from the progress.

“More films that reflect a greater diversity are part of the Oscar discussion this year.”

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MSG Network and WPIX Lead 2014 Emmy Nominations

FrancesThe New York Emmy Award nominations are announced today. Topping the list is MSG Network is 64 nominations. WPIX led the over the air outlets with 44, one better than the YES Network.

In the On-Camera Talent: News Anchor category, WCBS’ Chris Wragge will look to add to the mantle. Among those vying for the award include WNBC’s Michael Gargiulo, Tamsen Fadal of WPIX, and her former colleague Frances Rivera (above).

The weather anchor category features WABC’s Amy Freeze goes against WPIX’s Linda Church, and previous winner Lonnie Quinn of WCBS. News 12 The Bronx’s Mike Favetta rounds out the competition.

WPIX’s Scott Stanford is nominated as Best Sports Anchor for his work with WNBC. Standing in the way of the trophy are Bill Pidto of MSG, News 12 Long Island’s Jamie Stuart and Kevin Maher and WNJU/Telemundo’s Rafael Bello.

In the General Assignment Reporter category, a pair of WPIX standouts are highlighted: Jay Dow and James Ford. They’re joined by WCBS’ Carolyn Gusoff and Weijia Jiang, and Darla Miles of WABC.

Former WPIX commentator Larry Mendte got six nods, including the Political Reporter category.

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