It’s that time of the year—time for buying Christmas trees, and subsequently decorating them with all the trimmings. Our Jewish friends are digging out the menorahs, and making sure they have enough candles.
But it’s also the season for countless awards. FishbowlNY is no exception, as we present our 2nd annual Barmash Awards, honoring the local TV news scene here in New York.
As the title indicates, there is no committee making these decisions—just one co-editor.
While our intention isn’t to specifically balance the award winners, it does show the enormous talent we have to choose from across the dial.
Best Newscast (morning)
The chemistry works perfectly between WABC/Channel 7 veterans Lori Stokes and Ken Rosato. Stokes, though, brings that special connection to morning viewers. Stokes has a warm and friendly demeanor as she virtually “wakes” up people each day. Bill Evans is one of the best TV meteorogists, only falling short in the overall category to a colleague.
Best Newscast (noon)
The 12 o’clock news update has gotten more competitive in recent weeks, with WNBC rejoining the ranks of noon hour stalwarts WABC and WCBS. We give the edge to the Channel 2 duo of Rob Morrison and Mary Calvi. Morrison jumped right in after Maurice DuBois got the night time assignment. The anchors hit their stride handling hard news or breaking news. Following a busy winter and Hurricane Irene, John Elliott has become a dependable, reliable weather source.
Best Newscast (5 p.m.)
No growing pains for the aforementioned DuBois and Kristine Johnson. The pair is the station’s lead anchor tandem. DuBois, who has had a career covering mornings–first at WNBC, then WCBS– has clearly paid his dues. Across the studio at the Weather Center, the fan favorite Lonnie Quinn does his thing, while Otis Livingston, it’s easy to see, is enjoying himself doing sports.
Best Newscast (6 p.m.)
Not only a ratings winner each sweeps period, WABC/Channel 7 is pure and simply—the best at what it does! It starts with top anchor Bill Ritter, who is as smooth and confident as you’ll find on the air. He can report deadly serious stories with no struggle, or lighten it up with his colleagues on set. With the addition of a 4 p.m. newscast, that put the wheels in motion to adjust the anchor schedules. However, Ritter and Liz Cho remain untouched at 6 p.m.
Best Newscast (11 p.m.)
Three words say it all — Chuck and Sue—the standard bearers of local news teams. But these 68-year-old anchors aren’t simply resting on their past achievements. Scarborough and Simmons remain committed to the 11 p.m. newscast. Like a good wine, age for these vintage anchors bodes well for the WNBC viewing audience.
Best Weekend Anchor (Tie)
This is not a unique category, but the winners are. Both are veteran anchors, WPIX’s Kaity Tong and Don Dahler of WCBS, and both lost their weekday anchor gigs to someone else.
Tong, though, had already been removed as weeknight 10 p.m. co-anchor in October 2010. She remained a part of the Jodi Applegate-led newscast, “anchoring” short segments on location. That lasted until a year later, when Jim Watkins was let go. Whether it’s hers permanently or until someone younger and cheaper comes along, Tong has injected a breath of fresh air into an otherwise tumultuous situation.
As for Dahler, an award-winning broadcast journalist, he was hired by WCBS in 2007. His 6 p.m. anchor slot, though, was handed off in September to Chris Wragge, who returned to Channel 2 two months before officially being out at The Early Show (He leaves the show at the end of year).
Dahler persevered, and reworked his contract to co-anchor weekend mornings with Cindy Hsu and alone on the evening broadcasts. Not the dream job, but the good-natured Dahler has worked through it. A throwback to decades earlier, Dahler offers no bells and whistles—he’s just a newsman, the consummate professional.
Best Sports Anchor
WABC passed the baton eloquently from longtime favorite Scott Clark to Rob Powers, who took over in January. Powers told Fishbowl shortly after getting the promotion that he would ease viewers into the transition. Powers took this year to introduce himself to viewers, effectively showing off his skills without copying the tried and true Clark.
For the second year in a row, WABC’s Lee Goldberg gets the nod, and it’s no wonder. He is accurate with his all-important forecasts. But it is TV, afterall. Goldberg is a great communicator of the weather. His passion shines through with every report.
Best Overall News Team
WCBS offers viewers a terrific blend of veteran reporters Tony Aiello, Pablo Guzman, John Slattery, and Lou Young. Newcomers Ann Mercogliano and Kristin Thorne are added to the group. Not to be left out, weekend anchor Dahler also shows his reporter roots during the week.
Reader’s Choice—Favorite Anchor
With this tweet to her followers: “Don’t let me influence your choice…. But pls vote early and often,” WPIX anchor Applegate ran roughshot over the competition. She added the link and when the smoke cleared she had nearly a five-to-one margin over her nearest rival (Scarborough).
Best New Talent (Anchor)
WNBC wasted no time to accommodate new anchor/reporter Shiba Russell. She joined Channel 4 in February as weekend night time co-anchor with David Ushery and a reporter the other three days. Almost immediately Russell was Simmons’ main fill-in. Her ascension at WNBC continued in September when she was named weekday 5 p.m. co-anchor with Tom Llamas. As the Russell stock rises, she recently was named co-anchor of the noon newscast as well. Russell has the talent for either part of TV news, but was born to be an anchor.
Best New Talent (Reporter):
WCBS’ Mercogliano who joined Channel 2 in August has shown her versatility in reporting. Viewers of WNBC’s LX NY (now New York Live) will recall her work on the lifestyle and fashion-driven show. Then, her career got a boost. Before leaving for “the deuce,” Mercogliano began popping up as weekend reporter on Channel 4. Today, as a general assignment reporter, on any given night she will cover stories ranging from hard news to preparing a holiday turkey.
WNBC’s Chuck Scarborough
In addition to the 11 p.m. with Sue Simmons, he solos at 6 p.m. and helms a one-hour newscast at 7 p.m. on the digital outfit New York Nonstop. Scarborough, who joined WNBC in 1974, is hardly reducing his schedule at an age that many are collecting Social Security checks. And for the iconic anchor there is no need, he is as crisp as ever. If there is any wear and tear showing on camera, it is minimal.