Major WPIX Overhaul Could Be on the Way

Tamsen ScottThe fate of WPIX’s news director is likely tied to next month’s pivotal ratings performance. Mark Effron got the position a year ago and, although he made several personnel moves, it’s no different than rearranging the Titanic chairs.

Channel 11 has been facing an ongoing battle for eyeballs. The numbers have remained poor, primarily at 10 p.m. with Effron ‘s biggest acquisition— when Scott Stanford was pulled away from sports for a full-time opportunity to co-anchor with Tamsen Fadal.

“There’s a growing feeling within Tribune that it’s not working at 5 and 10 [p.m.],”  a PIX insider charges.

Morning is another problem area for WPIX, with no ground gained on WNYW’s powerhouse Good Day New York. The Rosanna Scotto/Greg Kelly led program typically beats some of the big boys….having better results than NBC’s Today show.

The May sweeps could bring potential sweeping change to the Tribune flagship. Sources tell Tuned In this is a final chance for on-air talent and behind-the-scenes staffers to fight for their jobs.

“It’s no secret ratings are bad, morale is low, and there’s a serious lack of leadership.”

Given those factors, we’re told that Effron’s days are numbered with GM Rich Graziano, hired in November.

“Upper management has given up on Effron and his managers,” a PIX insider says. “Tribune
gave his team every option to succeed and he’s failed.”

It’s difficult to find a silver lining regarding the situation on East 42nd Street. Approaching the May ratings period, PIX’s numbers plummeted to year-to-year low, Tuned In has learned.

One of Effron’s plans, like FDR’s New Deal creating jobs, was to sprinkle extra broadcasts throughout the day and week.

But it appears that the station is not able to financially support those shows right now, a remnant of Tribune’s bankruptcy. A source tells Tuned In that “everything is on hold indefinitely.”

4 thoughts on “Major WPIX Overhaul Could Be on the Way

  1. Ted David

    One need only look at the base topics WPIX posts to its Facebook page and runs on its air to see that it cannot possibly be trying to do serious news. And I think New Yorkers want more than all police blotter all the time. WPIX has become the Nation Enquirer of TV news.

    If you try to cater to the higher level of viewer you will pull people up with you instead of create a product that drags down all but the dregs of the tri-state.

  2. John Unger

    They should bring Mendte back and make him an anchor. He was the best thing they had. Also liked Jodi, and Frances and the Pizzi woman. They haven’t upgraded at any position. If this were a baseball team, the manager would have been canned by now. It’s like a college station.

  3. Sandy

    WPIX was amazing during Hurricane Sandy with Jodi Applegate and Larry Mente at the anchor desk. They seemed as if they were always on. I thought, “Wow, WPIX finally has a great team.” And then in a bizarre move, they were both let go. And now they have a texting socialite and a goofy sports guy doing the news. If this Effron is responsible for that he should be canned. Bring back Jodi and Larry.

  4. Richard Hertz

    Five major problems with their 10 p.m. news:

    1. Irv Gikofsky gives the weather three times during the newscast instead of only once.

    Add to that his malaprop delivery, with constant references to “the deal” (as in, “Here’s the deal…”), Gikofsky’s forecast sounds like he’s calling a horse race, including occasional finger-snapping. Talk to me, but don’t talk down to me.

    2. Scott Stanford is a pretty OK sportscaster but he doesn’t come across as a team player. I could see Stanford interviewing sports and non-sports celebrities in a 30-minute or even a 60-minute format.

    3. If a woman is attacked and she screams, they air the scream three or four times. Sometimes, almost hilariously, they provide a warning in a low voice, “We want to warn you now that the following clip may be difficult for some viewers to see and especially, to hear. Please tune away for a few moments and then come right back to us.” Then we hear the blood-curdling screams multiple times, sometimes as many as five or six times. Isn’t that exploiting the victim of the crime? And, isn’t it also exploiting the viewers?

    4. Similar to # 3, if a man is hit by a car and the incident is caught by a video camera, even after being warned that the next piece of video footage might be considered gruesome, the footage is shown on an endless loop. We see it five, six, seven times and then Standford says, “Gee, that’s was terrible. Let’s just look at it one more time.” Of course, the scene is on a loop and so, we see the poor get getting hit by the car another three or four times. “Ouch!” Stanford remarks, “That must have hurt!” It sure did Scott. I’ll bet it hurt that guy too. Hope he didn’t have his TV on in ICU.

    5. A message to Channel 11’s regular cast of reporters: Greg Mocker when you need to finish a piece in the subway, please stop going downstairs at the # 7 train’s platform at Grand Central, it’s BORING. Same thing with the rest of their correspondents — stop interviewing people at the corner of 42nd Street and Second Avenue. Howard Thompson, please stop doing your end pieces atop the street bridge at Sutton Place with 42nd Street as a backdrop.

    BTW, major kudos to Mocker and Thompson for their respective reports on the transit system and consumer reporting. Their reports keep me watching Channel 11’s 10 O’clock news.


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