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Posts Tagged ‘Bill Ritter’

TV Stations Go Wall-to-Wall for Irene Coverage All Weekend

As Hurricane Irene churned in the Atlantic with a bulls-eye at New York City’s back, TV stations went into non-stop coverage throughout the weekend.

The category-one storm made her first landfall early Saturday morning in Cape Lookout, North Carolina as stations began their wall-to-wall mode.

Accentuating the serious nature of the story, virtually every anchor was on the air.

WNYW’s Dari Alexander was one of the few anchors not seen during the weekend coverage. She was last seen by viewers on Friday night. Her 10 p.m. colleague Ernie Anastos (above, center) made his first appearance at 3 p.m. Sunday with co-anchor Christina Park, as the storm weakened significantly.

But Channel 5 did have its Good Day team, Rosanna Scotto and Greg Kelly, in place. However, much of Scotto’s screen time during the weekend was with WNYW’s newest memberSteve Lacy, and not her “TV husband” Kelly.

Kelly and Scotto were together Saturday, helping provide of the special moments.

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Anchors Ernie Anastos, Bill Ritter, and Chuck Scarborough Relive Their Most Difficult Professional Challenge–9/11

Despite working their famous calm exterior, some of New York’s veteran anchors endured emotional pain, tears, and a personal scare in covering that catastrophic Tuesday ten years ago.

The tragedy of 9/11, which of course started in the morning, was one of those rare breaking news stories when nighttime anchors were pressed into action.

One by one, the highest of high-profile anchors were on the air at the height of the disaster.

We begin our special Fishbowl series 9/11: New York Remembers by reexamining the 9/11 attacks with the Holy Trinity of New York anchors: Ernie Anastos, WNYW/Channel 5 (then with WCBS/Channel 2), Bill Ritter, WABC/Channel 7, and Chuck Scarborough, WNBC/Channel 4.

Bill Ritter, who lives in Manhattan, had the easiest trek to WABC’s Upper West Side studios. He got a call from his producer after the first plane struck the north tower at the World Trade Center. Even before knowing the full extent, Ritter was making his way to WABC.

Thanks to a short commute, Ritter (above, with Diana Williams during WABC’s 9/11 coverage) was on the air just after 10 a.m.—meaning he was describing to viewers as the second tower imploded.

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Successful May Sweeps for WABC/Channel 7 From Morning to Night

WABC/Channel 7 maintains its news dominance, winning the May Sweeps (the official last day is tomorrow) period among the overall Households and a pivotal demographic–Adults 25 to 54.

In the ratings tabulated by Nielsen, Eyewitness News This Morning with Lori Stokes, Ken Rosato, and Bill Evans had the highest Household rating from 4:30 to 5 a.m., while boasting twice as many Adults 25 to 54 as any other station. At 5 and 6 a.m., Channel 7 beat all competitors in Households and Adults 25 to 54.

In the newscast at noon, WABC held a 50 percent lead over WCBS in the Households rating, and by twice as much in the Women 25 to 54 demographic.

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Analyzing Second Day Coverage of Bin Laden Death on New York City Stations

As you undoubtedly know by now, Osama Bin Laden was killed Sunday in Pakistan. Yesterday, local stations were still focusing their energy and resources on the latest developments, especially at Ground Zero.

First, though, a couple of good moves by WPIX. They were the only over-the-air station to carry the White House press briefing at 2 p.m., where presidential advisor John Brennan gave details of the firefight.  Reporter Howard Thompson anchored the coverage from their New York studios.

For its 10 p.m. newscast, Jodi Applegate flanked by a  full compliment of (mostly live) reporters did away with their ”11 Stories in 11 Minutes” segment, and therefore the urgency (also variations on the same story) meant no rundown icons at the bottom of the screen.

Of course, Ernie Anastos and Dari Alexander had their own full coverage at 10 p.m. with multiple reporters, including Harry Martin at Ground Zero.

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New York Stations Scramble to Cover Death of Osama Bin Laden

On a night that the world learned about the death of Osama Bin Laden, TV networks and New York City stations poured in special coverage.

The first word came in at 10:45 p.m. last night that President Obama would make a major announcement from the East Room of the White House. He actually was scheduled to speak to the nation at 10:30 p.m.

The major networks all hit the air.

At the same time, Fox 5/WNYW broke into Sports Extra with anchor Sharon Crowley telling the audience that President Obama would speak shortly. Waiting, Fox 5 returned its regularly scheduled programming. Following Sports Extra, Crowley did have an extended 10 minutes leading up to Fox News Channel’s simulcast at 11:10 p.m. (Ironically, FNC had the graphic as their standard–”Usama,” while previously he was “Osama” on WNYW.)

Meanwhile at WPIX, Jim Watkins informed viewers of the breaking news at approximately 10:50 p.m., moments after the networks took to the air.    
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WABC Reveals Post-Oprah Anchor Lineup; New 4 p.m. Newscast

Whether WABC is ready for Oprah Winfrey to leave the air next month after 25 top-rated seasons doesn’t matter now. The eventual 4 p.m. change is about to happen. Today, WABC took the first step— making its own changes. First off, the station finally announced the anchors to helm the new 4 p.m. newscast that will replace Oprah’s time slot. Our sister station TVSpy details the changes in the air at WABC.

While no on-air talent is leaving, WABC is playing a bit of anchor roulette.

Liz Cho and David Navarro will anchor at 4. Cho remains at 6 p.m. with Bill Ritter.

The day, arguably, means the most for Navarro, who had a homecoming at WABC in December after a 10-year absence in Chicago.

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As Drama Unfolds, Newscasts Focus In On Yonkers Scaffolding Rescue

For more than an hour late Friday afternoon, two workers dangled precariously 12 stories over the side of a Yonkers high rise.

The timing of the accident (just after 5 p.m.) made for instant drama: just add water and stir.

The men who had been out on the scaffolding were ultimately brought down to street level safely.

With choppers providing live video from the scene, viewers saw all the riveting images.

Although not all images were as riveting as others, Channel 4, for example, which shares the helicopter with Fox 5/WNYW, actually had a much grainier feed than their partner. Apparently, WNBC was overcompensating for the darker, albeit clearer, picture on WNYW.

WNYW, though, was late to get to the coverage, taking approximately 30 minutes longer than WCBS and WABC for their choppers to arrive.

Once all the stations were on air and up in the air, this played out right through the 6 p.m. newscasts.

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WABC/Channel 7 Wins Feb. Sweeps in Key Demographic

As we reported earlier, WCBS-TV has reason to celebrate, winning their first sweeps at 11 p.m. in 17 years.

But, it is “steady as she goes” at WABC/Channel 7.

WABC won the key demographic Adults 25-54 in most dayparts throughout the day.

Starting in the predawn hours, Eyewitness News This Morning with Lori Stokes, Ken Rosato and Bill Evans, the station edged the competition at 4:30 a.m. In the 5 a.m. hour, however, Channel 7 had a whopping 67 percent lead.

The advantage, according to the Nielsen figures released by WABC and obtained by FishbowlNY, was maintained in the second full hour, with a 42 percent lead in the pivotal Adults 25-54 demo.

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One-time WABC-TV Anchor Charles Perez Blasts Former Colleagues In New Book

Charles Perez, who only spent two years at WABC/Channel 7, was believed to be groomed for the main anchor gig.

In his new book, Confessions of a Gay Anchorman, Perez discusses his coming out and how his TV gigs were affected by it.

For the chapter on his stint at WABC, (lasting all of 12 pages), however, Perez’s focus was not on his sexuality, at least not on the surface.

But Perez, hardly a memorable name in the annals of Eyewitness News history, took one jab after another at his former colleagues.

“To me it’s not about any of the people I mentioned,” Perez tells FishbowlNY. “It was about how shocked I was to get to a place that I thought was going to be about professionalism and journalism. In my experience, it was about ego more than anything. It was a culture of inflated egos and inefficiency,”

In the book, Perez calls WABC’s shop “by far the most overstaffed facility I’d ever worked in.”

In response, Perez joked, “How many people does it take to put in a light bulb?”

Faced with breaking news, Perez says he was forced to be at the cameraman’s beck and call.

“I could sit down there waiting for a photographer for a freaking hour and a half before he would actually get in the truck and pull out,” Perez alleges. “Everybody was moving like snails.”

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More Storm Coverage Ratings Analysis: WNYW and WABC Beat Competition

As the latest snowstorm began to churn its way into New York Tuesday night, WNYW and WABC were winning their respective newscasts with Adults 25-54.

First at 10 pm., the anchor team of Ernie Anastos, Dari Alexander, and meteorologist Nick Gregory gave WNYW a 3.4 rating and 297,000 viewers among the key demographic, according to Nielsen Media Research (and obtained by WNYW).  

By contrast, WPIX, with Jodi Applegate and weatherman Mr. G, only mustered a scant .8 and 73,000 viewers.

At 11 p.m., WABC (3.1/271,000) won the night among Adults 25-54 with accurate forecasting from Lee Goldberg (pressed into duty during his vacation), while Bill Ritter and Liz Cho manned the anchor desk.

WNBC (Chuck Scarborough, Sue Simmons, and meteorologist Janice Huff) was second with a 3.0 and 264,000.

WCBS took third (2.4/209,000) as Maurice DuBois, Kristine Johnson, and Lonnie Quinn worked the storm.

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