For those who missed Shiba Russell last week, veteran anchor/reporter Pat Battle proved a strong alternative. Battle, who has been a weekend co-anchor on WNBC for many years, got some much needed wide exposure. She was called in from the bullpen to join Tom Llamas for the 5 p.m. newscast last week.
The significance of the rare weekday early-evening fill-in was not lost on the professional Battle. She gave something extra to the newscasts, showing she is not just a weekend anchor.
And her colleagues responded. The always likable Battle was a welcome change.
“It’s like a breath of fresh air,” an insider says. “It’s like night and day.”
That is a reference to Russell, who apparently has some critics in the newsroom, while Battle has been a popular member of Channel 4 since she arrived on the scene in 1996.
This was a one-week stint, but it would not be, the insider says, if many people could have their choice.
“It’s clear [that] people want her to be the 5 p.m. anchor.”
Her popularity may also be connected to successfully battling breast cancer in recent years.
“The reception she receives in the newsroom is spectacular,” the insider says.
Not only does Battle bring a renewed energy to the broadcast, the insider claims, it helps her colleague.
“I think she helps Tom too,” the insider says. “She has good command of that show.”