Monday, April 17, 2006
A New Day Dawns At WCBS-TV, But Did Anybody Notice?
New York TV Station With Anemic News Ratings Shakes Things Up -- Again
If you tuned into WCBS-TV/2 News this morning, you witnessed the beginning of the station's extreme makeover for its low-rated newscasts.
Gone was the conga line of anchors, weather guy, sports dude and traffic lady all trying to get a word in edgewise.
Instead, it was a mere two people at the anchor desk -- the relocated Maurice DuBois from the 6 p.m. news, was joined on mornings by newbie Kate Sullivan (above), most recently of the ABC affiliate in Little Rock.
DuBois cannot be too thrilled by the change. After all, he left WNBC, where he helmed the dawn patrol for the better part of five years and left, in part to escape those hours and a higher profile, though going to channel 2 is not the best way to go about that.
For now, he'll soldier on until his agent can find another gig that doesn't involve waking up at 2 a.m.
The attractive, affable Sullivan began her tenure unobtrusively and mistake-free for the short time I watched. Give her credit for not looking too shell-shocked that she made the leap from the capital of Arkansas to the media capital of the world in one fell swoop.
Still, it remains to be seen whether any of this will make a difference. The show used to be dubbed the .2 Morning News, given its desultory Nielsens. Not much has changed, which is one reason News Director Dianne Doctor was given the boot last week.
As for the rest of what was the Channel 2 morning circus: Mario Bosquez, according to the Daily News, will now be a reporter, Jim Ryan will be a contributor to the morning show instead of an anchor, while the role of the third anchor, Shon Gables, is not clear, though the word from the gaggle at TVSpy.com is that we've seen the last of her on WCBS. Still, her bio remains on the station's Web site.
Dave Price had already stopped doing the weather in the mornings, though he'll still be on the network's "Early Show" in that role. He's replaced full-time by Audrey Puente.
Sports guy Duke Castiglione had left last March. Weekend sportscaster Deucis Rogers filled in live, but it's not clear if that's his new gig, or they just wanted a live body to interact with the new anchor. Just as likely: whomever anchored at 11 will tape packages for the following morning, which is what Channel 2 does on the weekends since Tina Cervasio decamped for NESN.
As for the rest of the newscasts, Roz Abrams gets a new partner and one new time slot, anchoring the noon and 5 p.m. shows with former weekend anchor Mary Calvi. Cindy Hsu, who had the noon gig, will now report on family issues.
That leaves Jim Rosenfield and Dana Tyler, Channel 2 Superwoman. Rosenfield moves from 5 to 6 p.m., while Tyler keeps 6 p.m. and gets back 11 pm. to team up with Rosenfield.
This is all the handiwork of station general manager Peter Dunn, who is after more steak, less sizzle, hence the departure of such racy one-time staples as "Shame On You" and Kirstin Cole's reports on filthy restaurants.
Channel 2 used to throw a really large carrot in a desperate attempt to lure viewers, namely half the commercials. Unclear whether that's still in play, as it did little to improve ratings. But consider the latest changes, at least in the morning, an upgrade.
Gone is the noise, which will hopefully be replaced by the news.