Tuesday, January 9, 2007

Post: "Slow-Motion Massacre"

"ONE BY ONE, CH. 2 SQUEEZING OUT OLD FACES" is the sub-headline for this lead story in the Post's TV section by Michael Starr.

Not a whole lot is advanced in this story -- it's mostly what has already been reported here and other places around the 'net. The layoffs are attributed to the need to trim the station's budget, which is due to lower than expected political advertising last year. Hillary Clinton and Eliot Spitzer, the Post says, spent "much less" in New York than projected, probably because they had no close competition.

Starr notes that Roz Abrams is off the air (since November) and is owed nearly $6 million for the remainder of her contract. Audrey Puente is also said to be gone (though her bio is still up, leaving me to think that she could be called upon to fill-in before her contract expires).

Cindy Hsu, who's described as "popular anchor-turned-reporter," has a contract expiring in March that won't be renewed.

The Post also speculates that Lonnie Quinn, "Sam Champion-look-a-like from South Florida," will likely mean that John Bolaris is on the way out.

This line sums it all up: "Industry types say Ch. 2 is cutting costs by chopping higher-priced, locally known talent, including Mario Bosquez and Lynda Lopez, and replacing them with cheaper anchors and reporters from outside New York."

The article also points out that "Judge Judy," which returned to CBS 2's 4 p.m. hour in September, hasn't helped CBS 2 News at 5:00. "The numbers have moved a little bit with 'Judge Judy,' " an anonymous insider said, "but they're concerned they haven't capitalized on 'Judy's' good numbers."

I wonder if it could be related to the fact that there are two unknowns at the desk at 5 p.m. that replaced Roz Abrams and Mary Calvi after just half a year. It's these constant changes and removal of familiar faces for cheaper, weaker talent that will continue to hurt CBS 2 News. Every new management team thinks it has the solutions, and that includes changing everything. The viewers have responded.

The Peter Dunn/David Friend team is very different from the one of Lew Leone/Dianne Doctor, which worked to acquire big names from other local stations. Dunn and Friend don't need them.

I also wonder how they expect to save money by paying Abrams $6 million to watch the news from her den for a few more years and not at least have her anchor until her contract runs out.

What do you think about these changes? Will they help CBS 2 or hurt them? Do you think more people will be let go in the near future?


Anonymous said...

This is all Friend. Dunn built up KYW, and you can't deny what a fantastic job he did before he brought in Friend. It makes no sense that Dunn would decide to commit suicide. And the idea that this all has to to with budget cuts is a load of crap. No other CBS station is doing this. They're cutting off-air and unessential positions.

pinkhouse14895 said...

I am going to miss these people
very much as they became part of my life watching them every day.-
I truly believe that the CBS
doesn't care by bringing in
cheaper PEOPLE & TRYING TO SAVE MONEY! I liked these people very much! I truly believe the CBS is making a huge & big mistake by doing this! What are they thinking
about! They are not thinking about the employees that's for sure!