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Posts Tagged ‘Kaity Tong’

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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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.

WPIX Reporter Magee Hickey Channels Her Mom to Honor Her Father at Annual Cabaret Event

For the third straight year, veteran reporter Magee Hickey is gathering many colleagues for a musical fundraiser.

Hickey is giving back to the community in a personal way. Money raised will support the Lawrence F. Hickey Center for Child Development in the Bronx, part of Astor Services. Students attending that Dyre Avenue school range in age from three and five.

Hickey’s late father co-founded the school. The senior Hickey died three years ago at age 91, just weeks before the first fund-raising event.

“We close each show singing a song he loved, The Very Thought of You,” Hickey says.

Her dad wasn’t an educator. His background was in concrete.

“He developed the property in the Bronx for this school,” Hickey says.

Mr. Hickey’s “major” may have been construction, but he earned a “minor” in altruism. The elder Hickey was head of his church’s parish council and neighborhood coalition for shelter.

“A nun from a nearby school asked for his help in the building because it was a hole in the wall, and they knew my father had a history in construction,” Hickey recalls. “So he started volunteering at that school [Lexington Avenue and 67th Street] and then word spread that there was this Larry Hickey who liked to help out at special needs schools.”

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Tracking Hurricane Sandy; Kaity Tong, David Ushery Shine

Forced to evacuated, I had plenty of time to monitor television coverage of Hurricane Sandy.

You probably woke up this morning to stations locked in ”wall-to-wall” mode, but that was not the case last night. Unlike last year’s Hurricane Irene (when I was holed up in a hotel), Sandy did not lead to an all-nighter by the area stations.

Here is how they took to the air this time.

Kaity Tong was a calming presence, anchoring a two-hour edition of the News at Ten on WPIX.  As was the case with Irene, WPIX’s coverage did not include Jodi Applegate.

Tong, as a solo anchor, was given an assist by reporter Dan Mannarino, who handled some phone interviews and other information for viewers. WPIX double-teamed the audience with veteran experience from Mr. G and Craig Allen.  WPIX was the only game in town until 11 p.m., as WNYW/Channel 5 was televising the final game of the World Series.

While the storm moved closer to New York, the other channels opted for prime-time network scheduling. At 11 p.m., WCBS/Channel 2 anchors Maurice DuBois and Kristine Johnson, first appearing at halftime of the New York Jets game, led the station’s one-hour special Sandy newscast. Thereafter, WCBS kept a crawl on the screen until the morning team resumed coverage at 4 a.m.

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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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Most Popular FishbowlNY Stories for the Week

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

  1. Viacom Takes Pro Gay Marriage Stance, July 27
  2. Jonah Lehrer (left) Resigns From The New Yorker, July 30
  3. The Daily Drops a Third of its Staff, July 31
  4. Jonah Lehrer Might Have Been Addicted to Lying, July 31
  5. WPIX Anchor Kaity Tong Takes Stand in Former Boss’ Age Discrimination Suit, July 26
  6. WPIX Catches WNYW in Morning Race, July 27
  7. WNYW Keeps Distance at 10 P.M., as Greg Kelly Marks One-Month, August 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.

Photo credit: salon.com

WPIX Beats Age-Discrimination Suit Against Former News Director

We’ve reported about the recent ratings win for WPIX. But the Tribune flagship also has a victory in the legal world.

A jury Wednesday, in its second day of deliberations, ruled against former Channel 11 news director Karen Scott. She had claimed that her 2009 firing was age-related. Scott, who turned 60 before being let go, worked 16 years at WPIX.

The station argued that Scott was dismissed due to weak ratings and declining ad revenues.

Scott sought $4.5 million in her lawsuit. Scott’s lawyer, Kenneth Rubenstein, says no decision has been made on whether his client will appeal, Newsday reports.

WPIX weekend anchor Kaity Tong, who turned 65 last month, and veteran reporter Marvin Scott, 74, were among the witnesses who testified in Manhattan Federal Court.

WPIX is not out of the woods yet. Channel 11 and former station general manager (and current WLNY GM) Betty Ellen Berlamino face similar age-discrimination lawsuits from former sports anchor Sal Marchiano and one-time features reporter Larry Hoff, the New York Post writes.

WPIX Anchor Kaity Tong Takes Stand in Former Boss’ Age Discrimination Suit

The testimony was akin to legal fireworks, as WPIX weekend anchor Kaity Tong appeared as a witness in the age discrimination trial of her former news director.

Tong, who turned 65 this week, was in Manhattan Criminal Court yesterday to defend Karen Scott, and promptly told lawyers that she was also singled out because of ageism.

Tong recounted a meeting with then-station GM Betty Ellen Berlamino (now GM at WLNY), who was Scott’s superior, according to the Daily News.

She said Berlamino criticized her performance and cut her salary “rather dramatically.” Tong, the former PIX co-anchor (with Jim Watkins) added, “I was devastated, surprised, hurt, and I thought it was baseless.  I was blindsided.”

Tong, a New York mainstay in the mid 1980s at WABC, believed she was given a bad review and the pay cut because “they were setting the groundwork to eventually get rid of me because of my age.”

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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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