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Posts Tagged ‘Jim Watkins’

Jodi Applegate ‘Lost Sleep for Seven Months’ Deciding to Leave WPIX to Have a Baby

Jodi Applegate left WPIX to start her family. The former WPIX anchor and her husband YES announcer Michael Kay have their first child, a two-month old girl. Applegate was a guest with WOR’s Joan Hamburg yesterday. She talked about the surrogacy route that was taken to pregnancy and her difficult decision to walk away from WPIX in December.

“I was thrilled to have [5 and 10 p.m. newscasts] and I really enjoyed working at PIX,” Applegate says. “But that’s a pretty hard schedule to do with an infant [and] a husband who travels.”

Related: FishbowlNY, Applegate To Step Down From PIX11

Once her gestational carrier was chosen and the pregnancy was realized, Applegate admitted being torn between family and career.

“I lost sleep for seven months,” Applegate says. “I am not exaggerating when I say I tossed and turned about for seven solid months, right up until the moment.”

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And the Votes Are In for WCBS New Morning Anchor…

We asked you to take part in our poll to decide who should be named WCBS/Channel 2 new morning co-anchor.

This was becoming a landslide win for Chris Wragge. Readers were in agreement with this reporter’s assessment that the evening anchor should set his alarm clock for pre-dawn. At the time of this writing, Wragge secured 28 percent of the vote. However, that’s down from more than 40 percent.

Former WPIX anchor Jim Watkins has caught fire as a write-in, putting him second on viewers’ wish list. Watkins, now at RNN’s FiOS1, previously worked for PIX GM Betty Ellen Barlamino, who runs WCBS sister site WLNY.

Also getting some write-in support, the legendary WNBC anchor Sue Simmons, and current Channel 4 anchor David Ushery.

Alice Gainer, who made her WCBS anchoring debut yesterday, got someone’s write-in vote. Gainer did weekend anchoring at News 12 New Jersey. She joined Channel 2 as a reporter in January.

Don Dahler picked up 17 percent of the vote. Cindy Hsu settled for less than 9 percent of the vote.

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Next Stop for Veteran Anchor Jim Watkins: FiOS 1

When last we left Jim Watkins, he was getting some anchor shifts at News 12 Westchester. Now, he’s popped up on RNN’s FiOS1, seen on Long Island and New Jersey.

No word on when he debuted, but video clips on the station’s Web site show Watkins as of last Friday. One clip indicates a breakout for the veteran anchor, a 6 1/2-minute segment about making Oscar party themed drinks with a mixologist.

Watkins has weathered the professional storm after his bitter conclusion to 13 popular years at WPIX. He was terminated in 2011. You’ll recall the longstanding PIX anchor team of Watkins and Kaity Tong was reshuffled in 2010 when Jodi Applegate was hired.

Tong is a PIX survivor, still anchoring weekends.

Watkins could be positioning himself for another run in New York, specificially at WCBS sister site WLNY, run by former WPIX GM  Betty Ellen Barlamino.

Media Professor Says WPIX Should Trim 10 P.M. News to 30 Minutes

Now that WPIX is moving on without its captain, we analyze if they are better off, and what’s ahead for the Tribune flagship?

Earlier this month, we reported Bill Carey stepped down as Channel 11 news director. It was a three-year run that attempted to finally lift WPIX past rival WNYW. But Queensborough Community College media professor Eileen White thinks aside from the new bells, whistles, and talent, nothing much has changed at WPIX. She says the newscasts, primarily at 10 p.m., attempted to reinvent the wheel, but in the process, alienated viewers.

One of Carey’s signature moves were to extricate Jodi Applegate from News 12 Long Island and bump seasoned partners Jim Watkins and Kaity Tong.

“That smacks of ageism too,” White tells FishbowlNY. “Let’s just put younger people on, because younger people like [watching] younger people.”

Ironically, Tong, 63, earlier this year gave testimony in an age discrimation lawsuit filed by former WPIX news director Karen Scott.

White also points to a more chronic problem for WPIX, the Fox prime-time lineup.

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Breaking: Bill Carey Stepping Down as WPIX News Director, Likely for Internet Startup

WPIX news director Bill Carey, who is responsible for sweeping changes to the look and staff since joining the station in November 2009, is giving up his post. A well-placed source tells FishbowlNY that Carey is leaving Channel 11 before the November sweeps period. It is believed that Carey is fielding several offers, including from a startup company. Carey had no comment to FishbowlNY about a change to his job status.

In three years on the job, Carey made his imprint. Within a year, lead anchors Jim Watkins and Kaity Tong were displaced and Jodi Applegate was hired. Carey created a brand new newsroom set for Applegate.

Carey also made morning changes. Last summer, he brought Frances Rivera from Boston to co-anchor the PIX Morning News with veteran Sukanya Krishnan. Earlier this year, commentator Lionel was given hosting duties for the two-hour early edition of the morning news.

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Jim Watkins Now Anchoring at News 12 Westchester

Accomplished anchor Jim Watkins, whose 13-year run with WPIX ended badly in October is back to work.

Watkins started anchoring this week at News 12 Westchester. The veteran anchor has been freelancing with the Cablevision station based in Yonkers for a couple of months. His visibility increased this week with the departure of longtime 5 p.m. anchor Brian Conybeare. He’s Governor Cuomo’s special advisor for the Tappan Zee Bridge project.

A News 12 spokesperson says a permanent replacement for Conybeare has not been named.

Former WPIX Anchor Jim Watkins Leaves Door Wide Open for TV Return

It was an ugly end to a glorious chapter for Jim Watkins. The affable anchor completed a 13-year run at Tribune-owned WPIX/Channel 11 in October. Watkins, who teamed with Kaity Tong for a dozen of those years. was reduced to weekend anchor for the final 12 months of his tenure.

For the first time since his departure from WPIX, Watkins talks about his time leaving the station.

“It got a little complicated there at the end,” Watkins says. “The vast majority of my years at Channel 11 were terrific years, and that’s what I take away from it.”

News director Bill Carey wasted little time in his new role, hiring market veteran Jodi Applegate, late of News 12 Long Island as solo, weeknight anchor in October 2010.

“As the main face of the station, you have to …say, ‘I did my best, I got my skills and my connection with the audience, and my dedication to my craft,’” Watkins says. “The other things that happened, they just happened.”

Now, the accomplished anchor who also spent four years at WNBC, has his sights on future plans. Watkins is executive producer of a huge undertaking, commemorating the 50th anniversary of the 1964 Army/Navy Game. The project includes a documentary in which Watkins is heavily involved, a book to coincide with the release in late 2013, and a feature film or miniseries.

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Life for Jim Watkins After WPIX

Jim Watkins has been the definition of “laying low” since parting company with WPIX in October.

The accomplished anchor has resurfaced to promote his new project, executive producing a documentary to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the 1964 Army-Navy Game. Players went directly from the football field to the battlefield in Vietnam.

On a battlefield of a different sort, Watkins tells the Daily News that “it’s been an interesting time,” since ending his 13-year association with Channel 11. “I’m not going to say it’s not a trying time.”

Watkins spent a dozen years as half of the popular anchor tandem, alongside Kaity Tong.

Apparently not popular enough.

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And Your Choice for Top All-Time Anchor Team…

King and Queen of the anchor desk

FishbowlNY readers rallied behind our poll for the All-Time Anchor Team. No doubt it brought a flood of memories from a bygone era.

Rolland Smith, for example, was the only personality selected for working with three different co-anchors during his 17 years at WCBS/Channel 2: Jim Jensen, Dave Marash, and Michele Marsh.

Here’s the Top 5 countdown of your picks for New York’s All-Time Anchor Team.

5. Rolland Smith and Jim Jensen — 4 percent of the vote. (1975 to 1987)

4. Smith and Michele Marsh — 7 percent (1979 to 1987)

3. Jim Watkins and Kaity Tong — 9 percent (1998 to 2010)

2. Roger Grimsby and Bill Beutel — 26 percent (1970 to 1986)

and at number 1….was there really any surprise?

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‘Change is Good’ for Veteran Reporter Jay Dow, Starting at WPIX Next Week

Jay Dow is about make a major career change. As we reported Monday, Dow is headed for WPIX, where the two-time Emmy Award winner will handle an array of hard news stories for the Tribune owned station, starting Monday.

His arrival at Channel 11 follows more than nine years as a WCBS/Channel 2 reporter.

“I grew up in the CBS family,” Dow tells FishbowlNY. “It was a great experience.”

Beyond that, it was a connection to his late uncle, Harold Dow, a longtime CBS News correspondent. Dow died in 2010.

“The Dow name has put in five decades of hard work at CBS,” Dow reflects.

Dow says he got where he is today, in part, from the elder Dow’s mentoring and the “trail that he blazed for myself and an entire of generation of journalists of color.”

Furthermore, Dow credits veteran WCBS reporters Pablo Guzman and John Slattery, and Byron Pitts and Randall Pinkston on the network side as influences.

“Because of all of these people, and the time that I’ve spent with them, I’m a better journalist for it,” Dow admits.  

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