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Merrill Knox

Merrill Knox is Senior Editor of TVNewser and TVSpy. She joined Mediabistro in 2011 after four years working for "Your World with Neil Cavuto" at Fox News Channel. When she's not reading or writing, Merrill is most often found trying to anticipate the next plot twist on "Homeland." Follow her on Twitter @merrillknox or email her at merrill@mediabistro.com.

WLBT General Manager Dan Modisett Retiring

wlbt logo_304x200After 40 years in broadcasting and 30 years at WLBT, general manager Dan Modisett is retiring from the Jackson, Miss. NBC affiliate.

Modisett will officially retire at the end of the year and plans to spend more time with his family.

“We genuinely appreciate his thoughtful and creative leadership at the station and all he has done for Raycom over the years,” WLBT parent company Raycom Media said in a statement. “While we are very happy for Dan and Lisa, we will certainly miss him at WLBT. It is our good fortune to have him around for a few more months.”

Jimmy Fallon Enlists Local NBC Anchors For Good News Segment

Happy Friday from Jimmy Fallon and a team of anchors at NBC affiliates recruited to deliver the all-too-rare good news:

Federal Court Rejects Aereo’s Plea to Operate as Cable System

aereoA federal court has rejected Aereo’s appeal to continue operating as a cable company, The Washington Post reports:

If the shuttered streaming video company wants to keep fighting for its survival, procedural reasons require that it do so at the district court level, officials said in a document filed Thursday.

The decision is a win for broadcasters, who had sought a ban on Aereo from the beginning. Initially, the district court decided against an injunction. But a ruling from the Supreme Court earlier this summer reversed that decision. Now the appellate court, following procedure, has also followed suit. Aereo declined to comment; a spokesman for the National Association of Broadcasters did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

How significant is this move? Seeing as Aereo had already voluntarily shut its doors after the Supreme Court verdict, a preliminary injunction doesn’t mean much for the company operationally. But the Second Circuit is effectively telling Aereo that if it wants to argue that it’s a cable company only for the purposes of copyright law — and therefore qualified to pay lower royalties — it’s currently making the argument to the wrong people.

Katie Kenney Joins WDTN’s ‘Living Dayton’

living daytonKatie Kenney has been named co-host of “Living Dayton,” WDTN’s daily local lifestyle program. Kenney has spent the past year as a contributor and fill-in host for the show.

“We are thrilled to have Katie join our Living Dayton family,” WDTN general manager Joe Abouzeid said in a statement.  “She’s been outstanding as our Dayton’s CW Star and with her strong ties to the community, will be an asset to the Living Dayton team.”

Kenney officially joins the show August 25. She joins co-hosts Shaun Kraisman, Vanessa Freeman and Sallie Taylor.

Laura Gray Returns to Buffalo’s WKBW

laura grayLaura Gray is returning to Buffalo ABC affiliate WKBW after three years working in public relations, The Buffalo News‘ Alan Pergament reports. Gray, who worked at the station for five years before leaving in 2011, will anchor the morning and noon newscasts beginning this fall:

A Pittsburgh native who worked in Erie, Pa. before joining Channel 7, Gray will work with meteorologist Andy Parker, who left Channel 2 “Daybreak” last week to return to Channel 7 on its new morning program.

Earlier this month, Channel 7 let go the morning team of Tiffany Lundberg and Cole Heath after they worked for a year on the low-rated program. The station’s new owner, E.W. Scripps, is attempting to get viewers to give the morning program another look when the revamp starts in mid-September.

“We saw someone with Laura who has a good news presence, is local and is committed to the market,” said Channel 7 General Manager Mike Nurse said this afternoon.

Former WSB Chopper Pilot Dies in Crash

matt wallaceMatt Wallace, a former chopper pilot for Atlanta ABC affiliate WSB, died in a helicopter crash in Tuscaloosa, Ala. Tuesday.

Wallace — who worked for WSB from 1997 to 2003 — was flying a helicopter contracted by Alabama Power. A passenger also died in the crash, according to the station:

Authorities say Wallace and his passenger, identified as 63-year-old David Carson, were conducting an aerial inspection of a transmission line when the crash occurred.

News Chopper 2′s Jason Durden says he’s heartbroken by the loss of Wallace, remembered as an “excellent pilot and an even better man.” Carson, Wallace’s passenger, was a senior line specialist at Alabama Power and had 44 years of service at the company, officials said.

On the Move, 8/18/14

Michael Schwartz joins WPIX in New York City as local sales manager. Schwartz comes from rival WNYW, where he had the same title.

To report a move, send an email to tvspy@mediabistro.com with the subject line “On the Move.”

Scott Dean Joins WWAY as Chief Meteorologist

ScottDean2Scott Dean has joined WWAY, the ABC affiliate in Wilmington, N.C., as chief meteorologist. Dean joins the station after seven years at WTVD, the ABC-owned station in Raleigh-Durham.

Dean replaces Jerry Jackson, who is joining WNCT in Greenville, N.C. as chief meteorologist.

“It was important to us to find an experienced meteorologist who understands the kind of weather we get here in the Cape Fear,” WWAY news director Kevin Wuzzardo said in a statement. “When we got Scott’s application, we knew instantly he was who we were looking for. We are very excited that even while losing a veteran member of our team in Jerry, we immediately gain in Scott the most experienced meteorologist in the Wilmington market.”

Dean will appear on the 5, 5:30, 6 and 11 p.m. newscasts on WWAY and the 10 p.m. newscast on the Wilmington CW affiliate, which is a subchannel of WWAY.

WMAQ Launches 11 a.m. Newscast, Shuffles Meteorologists

byron mirandaWMAQ, the NBC-owned station in Chicago, is making changes to its morning programming. Beginning September 8, the station will debut an hourlong 11 a.m. newscast that will replace the current half-hour noon newscast.

“A lot of news breaks during the day. Our expanded news at 11 am will allow us to even better serve our viewers with the latest news and weather information,” WMAQ vice president of news and station manager Frank Whittaker said in a statement.

Anchoring the 11 a.m. newscast will be Stefan Holt and Marion Brooks, alongside meteorologist Byron Miranda (pictured), who returns to WMAQ after more than a decade away. Most recently, he has worked as the weekend evening meteorologist at KNBC, the NBC-owned station in Los Angeles.

In addition to Miranda’s hire, there are further changes to the station’s weather team: Robert Feder reports weekend meteorologist Cheryl Scott is leaving WMAQ when her contract is up next month. Scott is exploring options “to work as a meteorologist on a network or local level,” according to Feder. Read more

Veteran Buffalo Meteorologist Switches Stations

andy parkerLongtime Buffalo meteorologist Andy Parker is switching stations, returning to ABC affiliate WKBW after 11 years at NBC affiliate WGRZ. Parker previously worked at WBKW from 1993-2000.

“We are thrilled to have Andy Parker coming home to 7 Eyewitness News,” WKBW general manager Michael Nurse said in a statement. “Knowing and understanding the changes in Buffalo weather is critically important to our viewers. Andy’s addition to our already strong team of meteorologists gives us a clear advantage in continuing to provide lifesaving information to our dedicated viewers.”

Parker will join WKBW, which was recently acquired by Scripps, in the fall. He will be the station’s fifth meteorologist.

“This is a great opportunity for me to return to 7 Eyewitness News, the place where I began my career,” Parker said. “With the new Scripps ownership, there are many exciting changes coming to 7 Eyewitness News, and I definitely want to be a part of it.”

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