The 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.
Effective immediately, WWOR/Channel 9 is out of the news business. VP/station manager Dianne Doctor announced Secaucus-based WWOR will offer viewers all things Garden State. The 30-minute Chasing New Jersey will feature wide-ranging interviews with everyone from local politicians to area residents, as many important issues facing the state are discussed.
The new program, originating from Trenton, will not include an anchor. Instead Bill Spadea will be the “Ringleader.”
Tuned In has learned that Channel 9 employees were told about the news today with this terse statement from the human resources department.
“We regret to inform you that the news has been cancelled and we’re shutting down.”
Several staffers will be laid off as a result of this programming shift, TVSpy reports. The website says co-anchor Harry Martin has been offered a reporter position at WNYW. From 2009 to 2012, Martin was solo at 6 p.m. on WNYW along with his Channel 9 duties. Brenda Blackmon will produce and anchor specials for WWOR. She has been a mainstay of WWOR since 1990. Sports anchor Russ Salzberg and meteorologist Audrey Puente won’t be affected as much. Salzberg is the regular nightly sportscaster on Channel 5 and Puente is a featured back-up on the station.