Jill Nicolini, the uber-popular traffic and entertainment reporter, has left WPIX/Channel 11. She did her final broadcast this morning.
“We made her a very competitive offer and asked her to stay,” WPIX news director Bill Carey says. “She’s leaving because she sees a path and opportunity to do more with her career beyond local news. This is the next step that will help her with that.”
For now, though, that career path takes Nicolini to WNYW/Channel 5 for Good Day New York. Insiders tell FishbowlNY that Nicolini will not work as a traffic reporter at WNYW.
The former model, actress, and reality show contestant joined WPIX in 2004.
“She’s very likable and very dependable,” Carey says. “She was a good part of our [morning] ensemble… We’re fond of her here. [Nicolini] leaves knowing she did a very good job for us.”
The WPIX morning team includes veteran anchor Sukanya Krishnan and Frances Rivera, who joined WPIX last week.
You can add beauty pagaent winner for the bubbly Nicolini as well. She was Miss Long Island 2002. But after nude pictures surfaced of Nicolini in Playboy, she was forced to relinquish her crown and ruled ineligible for the Miss New York title.
Carey says she is being permitted to begin at Channel 5 immediately.
“We don’t want to stand in her way,” Carey says. “We appreciate the way she carried herself. She can get to work right away and not worry about sitting out for a period of time.”
Now, he’ll begin the process of looking for Nicolini’s replacement.
“I had not been searching, so that will start in earnest now,” Carey says.