Wednesday, May 04, 2005

WOWT Brings in New Face for "Live at 4"

The Reader hitting stands Wendesday evening contains Sean Weide's report that WOWT has hired Sheila Brummer to fill Tracy Madden's spot as "Live at 4" anchor when Madden ascends to the top female anchor spot later this month. Brummer's bio says she's been working in TV for a decade or so, most recently as a reporter and morning anchor for KCCI in Des Moines.

Brummer may be turn out to be the station's savior, for all we know. But in selecting her for the position, Channel 6 snubbed weekend anchor (and eight-year WOWT employee) Courtny Gerrish, who had also sought the job.

This is yet another brilliant move by the bosses at the Little Six. One station insider reports that passing over a longtime employee who has looks, brains, and skills in favor of an outsider who isn't even currently employed has left folks there shaking their heads. We wonder what kind of message it sends other competent talent at the station.

Gerrish is a class act who kept the morning show afloat for years, despite the presence of insufferable co-anchor Thom Knight, and who has been paired more recently with Paul Baltes on the weekend shift. Baltes, while adequate, is so dull that he's almost invisible, leaving Gerrish to carry the broadcast. She deserves better.

We can only imagine what stroke of genius they have in mind for replacing Trey Jones as "Live at Daybreak" anchor. If the Channel 6 braintrust is true to form, they'll plop some charisma-challenged boob like Doug Walker or Gary "I Couldn't Sound Less Excited" Smollen in the chair next to shining star Malorie Maddox and totally screw up what is currently their strongest program.

Events over the past year or two suggest that WOWT is a sinking ship and that those steering it haven't the slightest idea how to save it. (Witness the amount of time it took them to figure out that Pat Persaud needed to be "retired.") Don't be surprised if you start seeing more of the crew following the lead of Jones and heading for the lifeboats.


papiopete said...

Hey Brainiac, Did you ever think that someone anchoring two weekend 10PM newscasts may be much more visible than someone anchoring a daily 4PM newscast ? Check out the numbers.

janetdoe said...

papiopete: Hey, crap for brains... do you realize that this new anchor will be the top backup for madden now? think that might also have been part of the reason why gerrish wanted the job? Six got its ass kicked by ketv 7 wednesday morning on the triple murder story. 7 was live and 6 was.... somewhere... So they come back with an "exclusive" at 10PM in Brian Mastere interviewing the loser petty criminal who got lucky and snuck off from the jail. So you got him to do an interview. Big deal. The cops just found him hanging around over in iowa. it's not like he's a big-time outlaw.

and what's with the new virtual floating anchor thing they are doing at 10? persuad was obviously in a chromakey, with andrea macmaster live in some little window. it looked really useless. persuad staring sideways at this little macmaster hanging there, staring straight ahead. forget it. desperation. it's over for the big six. enough about them.

papiopete said...

Janet...Chill out girl. I agree..enough about the big six. You need to cut down on the newswatching. Its making you a little cranky.

gerrishnut said...

It's typical of WOWT to screw deserving talent for unproven junk.

Gerrish has been a loyal foot solider since at least 1998. How can she not feel bored with her position in the WOWT pecking order when dull-as-drying-painf Kleeman gets better story angles than Gerrish.

If KETV had any brains they would snatch Gerrish up and replace that annoying Trisha Merrett.

Gerrish has been in this game long enough to know she's getting the shaft. She is by far the best looking personality in Omaha news. She deserves better than what those jokers at WOWT are doing to her and her talents.

RogerJohnson said...

gerrishnut -- I do not know what your obsession is with Courtny Gerrish but she is not nearly as great as you think she is.

"If KETV had any brains they would snatch Gerrish up and replace that annoying Trisha Merrett", that made me laugh honestly. Trisha's reporting skills are 10 times better than Ms. Gerrish. To address another statement you made, "She is by far the best looking personality in Omaha news", I ask you if your serious? What about Mary Nelson(KM3), Brandi Petersen(KETV),Tracy Jacim (KPTM), Suzanne Deyo(KETV), or Malorie Maddox (WOWT) they are all leaps and bounds ahead of Courtny Gerrish in the appearance category. Finally you stated, "She deserves better than what those jokers at WOWT are doing to her and her talents.", Everyone at Channel 6 deserves more. The ownership and management are running that place right to the ground. Pretty soon they will hit rock bottom and it will show when KM3 scoots past them in the ratings.

Will said...

From where I sit, this could one of two things:

A. Office politics per usual. Evidence for this is that Gerrish never seems to get anywhere at the Big Six, or:

B. Management, seeing the need to shake things up to shore up their sagging Arbitron book, figures that it's better to bring in new blood at every possible opportunity.

I choose B.

Ted Brockman said...

B would only make sense if they were shaking things up in a way that made sense. Demoting Brian Mastre or John Knicely, for example, would make sense. Givng Jim Flowers half his current time allotment would make sense. Getting Andrea McMaster out of the anchor chair would make sense. But taking a giant crap on one of your station's strongest assets makes no sense at all.

Will said...

Well, Oma, that would make sense, but from what I've seen, management at the Big Six is somewhat lacking therein.

janetdoe said...

Will, FYI, Arbitron ratings are for radio. Nielsen is TV.

A little chirping bird in the local business indicates the news director at six is a stubborn man who lets the need to get his way get IN THE WAY of making good people moves. (hidden stories behind persuad and rovere leaving? hmmm....) Typical man. KETV Newswatch Seven has a WOMAN for a news boss. Gotta love that!

Six is getting more and more boring and bland by the moment. Enough about that station, already! Isn't there any other news about the other news stations? How bad do ratings have to be for May to get KMTV to drop-kick high priced mercenary Greg "Pete" Petersen? Why keep a big salary if you are getting stuffed in the ratings anyway?

papiopete said...

Janet, I agree somewhat. I think that the much discussed and apparently desired collapse of Channel 6 is a bit premature. A much more fascinating story is how KMTV's ratings continue to tank despite the incredible ratings success that CBS has enjoyed. I also think the criticism of the Channel 6 newsboss needs to be temprered by the fact that he presided over a decade of ratings success and took a station that was in the tank in the early 90's to the top. Reality is that the ratings battle between 6 and 7 has always been a tight one, with the exception of a book here and there and will continue to be. That battle will continue for a long time to come because the mountain KM has to climb is a tall one. Both 6 and 7 have almost double the audience of 3 at ten oclock.

Chillout said...

From what I have heard...
Tracy's job was offered to Mallory... who turned it down because she didn't want to "report".
Job was also offered to Courtny who turned it down because she likes working the weekends.
So there you go. Will anyone ever know the truth?

Ted Brockman said...

Unless "chillout" has a source much more "inside" than mine (and believe me, this one is about as inside as you can get on this topic), the Gerrish snub is the truth. Likewise, we haven't heard the Malorie story from anyone in a position to know but will check it out.

Will said...


Whoops. My bad re: Arbitron vs. Neilsen. I've only worked in radio, never television.

janetdoe said...

Just got back to read the newer comments here. Keep in mind that WOWT's glory years were also during NBC's great years. Icons of primetime Seninfeld, Friends, ER, Frasier, etc were all in their prime. The news director at ch 6 had nothing to do with THAT. That's simply good fortune. They also had many May sweeps periods in which NBC was showing Michael Jordan in the NBA playoffs in prime-time, leading up to the 10PM newscast.

The lesson to be learned here is that in a market that is not driven by spot news, in which the viewers are mostly concerned with the personalities they know and like, getting rid of recognizable on-air people or basically driving them away from your station has consequences. Persaud would probably have agreed to stay if the station -- primarily the reportedly high and mighty news director -- had been willing to make some concessions on schedule and work hours. Sure, it means making an exception or giving special considerations that others would not get, but isn't that worth the upside of having an extremely well-known and ratings friendly face stay out front of your news product? Forget her skills and shortcomings! This is about ratings and a stations ability to leverage those ratings for ad dollars. Don't you do ANYTHING it takes to keep Persuad?

Viewers knew and loved Kara Rovere as well. Why be a jerk to her year after year when she is a big positive for your product? Now you've got that two-anchor mess with Gerrish and that guy on the weekends.

Ted Brockman said...

Followup to "chillout's" post about Gerrish and Maddox:

After some questioning of persons close enough to the situation to have definitive knowledge, large parts of what chillout posted are absolutely untrue. That's not to say that none of it is true, but I've been unable to find anything to support a single fact in it.

Ted Brockman said...


On what are you basing your assumption that the audience love(d) Persaud and Rovere? WOWT must have focus group or Q-score information to suggest otherwise.

Personally, you already know our opinion of Persaud. As for Rovere, her obvious eating disorder frequently made it look as if the station had stretched skin over a skeleton and gotten Disney's animatronic department to create the illusion of a newscaster. Watching her was creepy. For obvious reasons, a friend always referred to her as "the skeletal remains of Kara Rovere," and it never seemed far from the truth.

janetdoe said...

Ted (or whatever):

You seem like an insightful lad with an eye for what's decent and what sucks. However, you must ground yourself in the fact that the AVERAGE viewer is an idiot. The average person turning on the television news in the Omaha, NE area is not college-educated and has no idea about any type of journalistic standard or comparative quality of performance among the air personalities. The AVERAGE viewer is a bozo (or bozette) who just likes/dosen't like what he/she sees. So, while you may recoil in horror at the thought of masses of people in your hometown "loving" persuad or rovere, etc., it's a fact that thousands of viewers were upset when kara left 6 and broke up the little on-air thing she had going with chapman. Thousands of blue-hairs "just love that pat persuad". Do I love them? No. Are they very good? No. Did they help WOWT make money? Absolutely. It has nothing to do with whether one is good or terrible. It just matters if the drooling masses have the idiot box to watch them. Understand-o?

If you need further eveidence of this, check and see how long "Walker Texas Ranger" flourished as a network prime-time show. It's not Shakespeare, but it really plays well in double-wides across redneck america.

So my comments were just regarding the poor moves by the "brain-trust" at 6 to drive these people away, not whether they have any talent.

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