There is a void in local news, but that is quickly and effortlessly being filled by Chris Wragge. In the wake of Rob Morrison’s abrupt departure following the wife-beating allegations, Wragge shifted from evenings to mornings. The ugliness didn’t just rock the Morrisons, his former “family” was hit hard too.
We recall the 1994 Robert Redford film, Quiz Show, about the 1950s quiz show scandal. Congress was set to hold subcommittee hearings with former 21 contestant Herb Stempel as the star witness. But the more famous (on and off the show) Charles Van Doren, played by Ralph Fiennes, was not going to participate. Therefore, the young government lawyer (Rob Morrow) cautions Van Doren not to say anything.
A short time later as the committee convenes in DC, NBC president Robert Kintner (Allan Rich) speaks to Van Doren, who since took a self-imposed dive and was hired by the network’s Today show.
Kintner encourages Van Doren to hold a press conference. But the former game show contestant was reluctant because he hadn’t received a subpoena.
Kintner’s line echoed since Morrison’s alleged incident like someone reading a letter to themselves on a soap opera.
“Television is a public trust.”
It’s a main reason for Morrison’s resignation, although indications are high that WCBS management had an influence on his decision. It’s also the reason that following the scandal in the 1950s or today, viewers always want someone they can feel comfortable with. Wragge is that familiar, calming presence.
We bow in the New York Post‘s direction for mentioning our recent FishbowlNY poll proclaiming Wragge a winner in the competition for mornings.
However, it appears the Post made a wrong turn, installing veteran weekend anchor Cindy Hsu as the front-runner. Hsu is clearly no lightweight (fourth place in our poll). Having two women (Mary Calvi) on the desk is intriguing, especially after the rare turn of two female anchors (Hsu and newcomer Alice Gainer).
The question, though, begs to be answered… why hasn’t Hsu filled in since the Morrison departure? Sure they know her work. If Channel 2 was seriously entertaining her move to weekdays, they wouldn’t switch Wragge and his body clock from nights to a disruptive early, early mornings (2 1/2 hour news block starts at 4:30 a.m.), even temporarily.
Furthermore, Wragge is a welcome face for WCBS and WLNY at night. But examine that a moment. Although the one-hour WLNY newscast showcases Wragge’s talents, it is still a waste of those same skills. The WLNY ratings are non-existent and no one anchor will change that. On WCBS, Wragge, co-anchor of the 30-minute 6 p.m. broadcast, is sandwiched between lead anchor Maurice DuBois. Fortunately, WCBS was able to create the role for Wragge in 2011 after The Early Show disintegrated. In a touch of irony, DuBois jumped from morning to night that same year when Wragge went to the network.
Having done all shifts since Morrison left two weeks ago, the evidence clearly points to Wragge being in the driver’s seat for CBS2 This Morning, not Hsu.
Don Dahler has filled in for Wragge with Dana Tyler on the WLNY News at 9.