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Posts Tagged ‘Jim Watkins’

FishbowlNY: Year in Review

As we get ready to usher in 2012, let’s take one more look at the biggest broadcasting stories that FishbowlNY covered in 2011.

In January, Scott Clark closes out a brilliant career at WABC, retiring after nearly a quarter-century at Channel 7.

Maurice DuBois makes his debut as WCBS/Channel 2 lead anchor when he is promoted to nights opposite Kristine Johnson. Chris Wragge shifts his energy to The Early Show, but that wasn’t the last we would hear from him.

Also as 2011 began, veteran radio talk host Curtis Sliwa adds an afternoon shift to his Apple/WNYM duties.

In February, among the notable events, WNBC/Channel 4 welcomes home Shiba Russell from Boston. She was named weekend anchor with David Ushery. Russell fueled speculation that she was Sue Simmons’ “heir apparent,” as the main (if not exclusive) fill-in for the legendary anchor, who started at Channel 4 in 1980.

On the radio, Craig Allen, a veteran in his own right, agrees to a three-year extension as WCBS 880’s chief meteorologist. Two months later, Allen marked 30 years at the station.

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Anchor/Reporter Peter Thorne Leaving WPIX

One of the last remnants of the pre-Bill Carey regime, veteran newsman Peter Thorne is leaving Channel 11.

The station released a terse two-sentence statement saying in part that Thorne is leaving effective December 31, to “pursue emerging opportunities in broadcast journalism, new media, and charitable works.”

Thorne spent ten years with WPIX as an anchor and reporter. When Jodi Applegate took over the weeknight 10 p.m. newscasts in October 2010, the WPIX shuffle was on. Carey, who joined the Tribune-owned station in November 2009 as news director, shifted weekend anchors Thorne and Jackie Hyland to weeknight reporting duties. Hyland left Channel 11 in March 2011.

Jim Watkins, the station’s former main co-anchor with Kaity Tong, was relegated to weekends upon Applegate’s arrival. Carey officially severed ties with Watkins in October.

Since Watkins’ departure, Tong has assumed the role of weekend anchor.

As f0r Thorne, he won multiple awards, including a 2005 Emmy Award. He joined WPIX in September 2001, just days before the 9/11 attacks. His bio on the WPIX website says Thorne reported from Ground Zero as his first assignment with the station.

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Time to Handout 2nd Annual Barmash Awards for Excellence in TV News

It’s that time of the year—time for buying Christmas trees, and subsequently decorating them with all the trimmings. Our Jewish friends are digging out the menorahs, and making sure they have enough candles.

But it’s also the season for countless awards. FishbowlNY is no exception, as we present our 2nd annual Barmash Awards, honoring the local TV news scene here in New York.

As the title indicates, there is no committee making these decisions—just one co-editor.

While our intention isn’t to specifically balance the award winners, it does show the enormous talent we have to choose from across the dial.

Best Newscast (morning)

The chemistry works perfectly between WABC/Channel 7 veterans Lori Stokes and Ken Rosato. Stokes, though, brings that special connection to morning viewers. Stokes has a warm and friendly demeanor as she virtually “wakes” up people each day. Bill Evans is one of the best TV meteorogists, only falling short in the overall category to a colleague.

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Most Popular FishbowlNY Stories for the Week

Here’s a look at what FishbowlNY stories made the most buzz this week.

  1. Anchor Jim Watkins (left) Officially Ends Association With WPIX, October 28
  2. Nick Kristof Easily Wins Twitter Spat, November 1
  3. Columbia Journalism Review Names New Editor-in-Chief, November 2
  4. Exclusive: No One Cares About Your Exclusive, November 1
  5. Rodale Splits Into Three New Groups, October 28
  6. WEMP Covers October Snowstorm in Haphazard Fashion, October 30
  7. Mark Teixeira Loves Patch, October 28
  8. Adweek Names Lisa Granatstein Managing Editor, November 2

Keep up-to-date with the latest FishbowlNY news. Click here to sign-up for the FishbowlNY daily newsletter, bringing you our articles each afternoon directly to your inbox.

Anchor Jim Watkins Officially Ends Association With WPIX

The worst kept secret has finally been made official today. Veteran WPIX anchor Jim Watkins has left Channel 11 as FishbowlNY reported exclusively on September 30.

The station, in a statement, announced a parting of company with its longtime anchor, without explaining why.

“Jim Watkins and WPIX-TV have decided to end their relationship after 13 years and three Best Newscast Emmy Awards. PIX11 salutes Watkins’ years of service to the station and to the community during his time as a valued newscaster at the station.  Jim bids a fond farewell to his many PIX co-workers over the years, especially Kaity Tong.”

It’s a different tone than we reported last month, when multiple sources said Watkins was fired earlier, and he was not permitted back in the building.

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Meteorologist Craig Allen Increases Workload at WPIX, Lisa Mateo Shifts Temporarily to Mornings

Kaity Tong is not the only “new” face on weekends at WPIX. As we reported September 30, she replaced the terminated Jim Watkins on an interim basis.

But a deeper evaluation reveals another recent, albeit quieter change on the weekend newscasts.

Meteorologist Craig Allen, a steady freelancer at Channel 11 since leaving WNYW/Channel 5 in June, has seemingly become a regular contributor.

Avid weekend WPIX viewers will notice less of forecaster Lisa Mateo and more of Allen.

However, Allen has not been named a permanent meteorologist at Channel 11.  News director Bill Carey says Allen, though, remains a valuable fill in.

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‘New York Not Gone Forever’ as Former WPIX Talent Lolita Lopez Starts as KNBC Reporter Today

While we await the resolution of Jim Watkins‘ fate at WPIX, Lolita Lopez takes matters into her own hands!

The versatile Channel 11 air talent bolted for KNBC in Los Angeles where she starts on Monday as a general assignment reporter.

Lopez began at WPIX in 2001 in that same role. But she added weekend sports anchor to her resume. Eventually, when top sportscaster Sal Marchiano was dumped in 2008, Lopez was promoted.

However, when news director Bill Carey (who joined WPIX in 2009), dropped sports from the newscasts earlier this year to make his station stand out, Lopez’s trip at Channel 11 went full circle to street reporter.

Lopez, the highly visible sports anchor at the time of the unprecedented move, isn’t sure how it will affect viewers in the long term.

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Most Popular FishbowlNY Stories for the Week

Here’s a look at what FishbowlNY stories made the most buzz this week.

  1. Breaking: Jim Watkins Fired From WPIX, September 30
  2. Jill Nicolini Welcomed in Her WNYW Debut, October 3
  3. With Jim Watkins Out at WPIX, Kaity Tong Takes Weekends, September 30
  4. Fortune Lists 50 Most Popular Women in Business, September 30
  5. WABC/Channel 7 Moves on Without Gil Noble, Like It Is, October 3
  6. The Economist to Host a Trivia Night, October 3
  7. Michael Wolff is Not Being Fired After All, October 4
  8. An Addition to the WCBS/Channel 2 Weather Team, October 4

Keep up-to-date with the latest FishbowlNY news. Click here to sign-up for the FishbowlNY daily newsletter, bringing you our articles each afternoon directly to your inbox.

With Jim Watkins Out at WPIX, Kaity Tong Takes Weekends

As we reported first this morning, anchor Jim Watkins has done his final broadcast on WPIX/Channel 11. Several sources with knowledge of the matter tell FishbowlNY that the longtime WPIX anchorman was fired.

WPIX management had very little to say about the situation except that Watkins “remains employed by WPIX.”

However, sources say Watkins, who became weekend anchor in 2010, is not permitted back in the building, let alone the studios.   

In addition, sources say Watkins’ former weeknight colleague Kaity Tong is handling the weekend anchor duties on a temporary basis beginning tomorrow night.

Tong has been reporting from the outer boroughs each night. She also has been a frequent fill-in for Jodi Applegate.

Breaking: Jim Watkins Fired From WPIX

Veteran WPIX/Channel 11 anchor Jim Watkins has been fired from the station, FishbowlNY has learned exclusively.

Sources with knowledge of the situation say Watkins, the station’s solo weekend anchor, was abruptly terminated Tuesday by news director Bill Carey.

We’re told that Watkins is no longer permitted in the WPIX building on 42nd Street.

Watkins, who joined WPIX in 1998, was part of the long-running evening anchor tandem with Kaity Tong. However, with the arrival of Jodi Applegate in October 2010, Watkins was relegated to weekend anchor.

Before arriving at WPIX, Watkins anchored various newscasts for WNBC/Channel 4. 

There’s no word of who will replace Watkins on weekends.

Update: WPIX news director Bill Carey says Watkins “remains employed by WPIX.”

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