The worst kept secret has finally been made official today. Veteran WPIX anchor Jim Watkins has left Channel 11 as FishbowlNY reported exclusively on September 30.
The station, in a statement, announced a parting of company with its longtime anchor, without explaining why.
“Jim Watkins and WPIX-TV have decided to end their relationship after 13 years and three Best Newscast Emmy Awards. PIX11 salutes Watkins’ years of service to the station and to the community during his time as a valued newscaster at the station. Jim bids a fond farewell to his many PIX co-workers over the years, especially Kaity Tong.”
It’s a different tone than we reported last month, when multiple sources said Watkins was fired earlier, and he was not permitted back in the building.
News director Bill Carey, though, was quick to squelch our report, saying Watkins “remains employed by WPIX.”
As Tong immediately assumed Watkins weekend anchor duties, people with knowledge of the situation told FishbowlNY that his name remained on the station’s weekly schedule.
However, sources have maintained that Watkins was dismissed.
FishbowlNY has made several attempts to speak with Watkins throughout this four-week ordeal. Once again, though, our interview request was turned down today.
Watkins joined WPIX in 1998, and had co-anchored the weeknight newscasts until Jodi Applegate was hired in October 2010.