New York Live and its predecessor LX New York have made more changes on the WNBC schedule than a game of three card monte. The latest switcheroo may be a surprise to many. As we reported in March, WNBC announced that New York Live would be canceled in time for fall programming. True to their word, Steve Harvey takes the 3 p.m. slot with the debut of his new syndicated talk show September 4.
And that would be the end of the line for New York Live.
Quietly, however, in just the last few weeks, the show has apparently been given another life. New York Live is making the move to 12:30 p.m., immediately after the noon newscast.
Some changes are coming to the program, though. Most notably, the time has been trimmed to just 30 minutes. Lead host Jane Hanson will not be part of the shorter entertainment/lifestyle broadcast.
“It just didn’t work for me for a number of different reasons,” Hanson tells FishbowlNY. “One of them is financially. There wasn’t the same kind of pay involved… I just could not afford to take that job.”
In the end, it wasn’t a tough decision to walk away, but Hanson still has fond memories of New York Live.
“We were really gaining momentum too. We had great [fan] response… we interacted the audience in unusual ways because we always had that chat at the bottom of the page,” Hanson says. “That part I’ll miss.”
The momentum carried over to celebrities, attracting a better lineup of guests.
Hanson, who returned to Channel 4 with New York Live in February 2010, has logged nearly 30 years at WNBC. However, the longtime anchor is not interested in resurrecting her past.
“I never really explored it, to tell you the truth,” Hanson admits. “I had so much fun doing New York Live with all the interviews and with all the live moments to it, and honestly it was so much fun. After a career of doing really heavy duty, a lot of breaking news, a lot of live shows…it was good to get out of that whole news thing.”
Hanson, best remembered for her 15 years as Today in New York co-anchor, was on the air as the 9/11 horrors unfolded 11 years ago.
Although keeping the possibility open for more work at her beloved WNBC, Hanson, 56, isn’t just looking toward her own future. She and New York Live executive producer, Amy Rosenblum, are helping the next crop of TV personalities. They have founded the company, The Media Masters.
“That’s about helping people learn how to be in television, and ultimately helping them find places to be on television,” Hanson says.
The signature event of the new company is an intensive day-long, media training boot camp.
“[It's] for a lot of young people, and a lot of people who are experts in a particular field and may want to find a way to use that expertise on television or in some form of video.” Hanson says.
She says the Media Masters venture is her main focus while her next on-air step is to be determined.
“There [are] other television possibilities,” Hanson says. “Cable shows have expressed interest. It’s all just kind of an exploratory process for me at the moment.”
But Hanson, who started as a 23-year-old “wet behind the ears” reporter in 1979, knows there will be a TV future for her and her fans.
“I love television. I love being on television,” Hanson says. “I love interviewing people, it’s so much fun. How I’m going to translate all of that going forward I’m not quite so sure.”
One thing is certain for the veteran newswoman, she has no regrets about returning for her second stint with WNBC. She left the station in 2006 due to budgetiary cutbacks. Not only did she expect the door on her WNBC career closed, Hanson believed it was a sign to get out of TV altogether.
“I had never sought another television job at that point. I just simply wasn’t looking for one,” Hanson recalls. “…It was just something that was meant to be, but it was not me saying, ‘I need to be on TV!’”
Hanson is grateful for the opportunity, friendships she forged, and most important, stretching herself professionally on New York Live.
“The experience has been fabulous,” Hanson reflects.