Now 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.”
As for a sports guy-turned-news anchor, there is a precedent in New York City. Look no further than Channel 2 and Chris Wragge. He had been a sideline reporter for NBC Sports, not to mention Entertainment Tonight correspondent, before landing the WCBS gig when Warner Wolf was fired abruptly in 2004.
Ultimately, Wragge was named the station’s top anchor. After trying his hand on CBS’ morning news, he returned to Channel 2. Wragge is currently the weekday morning anchor.
Another member of the New York anchor brethren tells Tuned In that Stanford is in good company.
“The world is filled with sports anchors becoming news anchors. Bryant Gumbel, Bill Weir, Josh Elliot, even Steve Bartelstein and Keith Olbermann. For PIX this is a big move – not so much for bringing in a sports anchor to co-anchor the news, but because it changes its much touted format of a single anchor that was supposed to change local news.”
However, the unnamed anchor cautions, “I don’t think New Yorkers know who Mr. Stanford is.”