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Ch. 4 Moving Fairbanks to Mornings in Shocker

PASADENA, Calif. – In an earthquake-like shocker I heard all the way on the West Coast, Channel 4 is moving Diana Fairbanks to its morning show to team with its new “Wake Up!” co-anchor Jordan Williams, sources have told stilltalkintv.

Unless there is a last-minute change of heart, Fairbanks, who has impressed as solo anchor of the 5:30 p.m. news on Channel 4 and the 10 o’clock news on WNLO-TV since arriving a year ago, is expected to start her new shift as early as this Monday, according to sources.

Diana Fairbanks

Diana Fairbanks

That most likely will mean she will start her new shift before Williams starts on the air. He is expected to start at the CBS affiliate next week and make his on-air debut later in the week.The move of Fairbanks illustrates that Channel 4 News Director Joe Schlaerth and General Manager Chris Musial knew they had to do something big to make a splash in the morning now that Channel 2’s “Daybreak” dominates.

“Daybreak” has remained dominant in the first several days since Melissa Holmes, a former Channel 4 anchor, replaced Jodi Johnston alongside John Beard in the morning. Channel 2 almost has had a 2-1 ratings lead since Jan.3.

But the new Fairbanks-Williams team at the least possibly would make morning viewers sample “Wake Up!” again. Victoria Hong and Joe Arena, who had been co-anchoring “Wake Up!” together, each left the station in the past six months. Arena left for Pittsburgh and Hong left for a job in private business.

The move of Fairbanks from her previous anchor duties most likely means that co-anchors Jacquie Walker and Don Postles will be asked to solo anchor the 5:30 p.m. and 10 p.m. newscasts.

In another slightly less shocking announcement, Channel 4’s Hall of Fame news producer Vic Baker resigned after more than 40 years at the station to take a similar position at a Central Florida news operation.

Musial announced Baker’s move in an email to the staff. Baker was the senior producer in charge of the 6 p.m. and 10 p.m. newscasts, which have both remained No. 1 despite Channel 2’s ratings surge at 5 p.m. and 5:30 p.m.

In his email to the staff, Musial wrote:  “Vic has been witness and participant in many, many news events and news makers that have shaped our community since the late 60s and early 70s when he joined Channel 4 full-time. A lifelong Western New Yorker, Vic has been go-to-guy for history or geography questions and of course to one hundred primary or election nights through the years… Please join me in congratulating Vic!”

According to many in the newsroom, Baker will be missed as much as any on-air staffer who has left Channel 4 in the last few years.

pergament@msn.com

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5 responses to "Ch. 4 Moving Fairbanks to Mornings in Shocker"

  1. Jim says:

    Did they force her to move to mornings?

  2. Tina says:

    I was wondering the same thing. Does she actually have a choice here?

  3. Joe says:

    Alan this is one of the many reasons I love your blog. This is info we won’t see in the BN for quite a while I am sure. Thank you!

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