Marking First Anniversary With LX New York, Jane Hanson Says ‘We Are Now’ the ‘Go To Show’

While everyone is familiar with the legendary team of Chuck Scarborough and Sue Simmons, Jane Hanson‘s tenure at WNBC actually predates Sue’s remarkable reign.

Until she was unceremoniously fired in 2006 after 27 years at the station. She was most prominently co-anchor on Today in New York from 1988 to 2003.

“It just ended abruptly one day,” Hanson recalls. “I had no agent, I had nobody looking for anything for me in television … There was a signal from the universe or whomever that my time on TV was up, and that was ok.”

As Hanson was coming to the realization that she might not find work again in TV, her former company was busy making deep cuts in personnel.

In some ways she became the trailblazer for what was to come. Beginning in 2008, WNBC axed several familiar anchors and reporters, while putting resources into the upstart 24-hour digital channel New York Nonstop.

“The faces have changed but I don’t think the commitment to the community and the news has changed at all,” Hanson admits.

Hanson’s retirement plans were placed on hold, as last year she was sought out by WNBC to join their afternoon lifestyle show LX New York.

“That was probably one of the weirdest experiences, because it was the first time I walked back at 30 Rock,” Hanson tells FishbowlNY.

Initially, when Hanson was interviewed by LX honcho Morgan Hertzan, she balked.

“My biggest hurdle is I truly don’t know if I want to do TV again,” Hanson recalled.

But after the show’s senior executive producer (and longtime friend) Amy Rosenblum cajoled her—a week later Hanson relented.

“What have I got to lose by trying?” Hanson thought.

So Hanson, a multiple Emmy Award winner, decided to take the LX gig, but not before giving herself a two-week trial during the 2010 Winter Olympics—starting on Monday, February 15.

(Helped by the fact that LX’s studios are across the Plaza at 75 Rock, Hanson is somewhat disconnected from her WNBC brethren.)   

“I discovered I loved being back on TV,” Hanson says.

Even more so, Hanson realized how much she missed live TV.

“I really believe that that’s always been one of my strong points.”

Separately, the veteran anchor also enjoys conducting interviews, and on the lighter side, “I get to wear cute clothes,” Hanson laughs.  

Beyond the personal reasons, the veteran anchor had a larger motivating factor for going back in front of the camera.

“I’m a woman over 50, and women over 50 are not necessarily welcomed on television,” Hanson admits. “I honestly thought this may be a really nice signal for women out there that you don’t have to be 35, or you don’t have to be 25. You can be over 50, go back on the air and actually have a voice.”

In a somewhat ironic twist, throughout the five months prior to Hanson joining to the show, the program had no voice. Critics (including this one) were very hard on the on-air staff and the look.

There was no chemistry between the hosts, including holdover Sara Gore.

In comes Hanson, providing exactly what an anchor is. From the get-go, she infused a professionalism and experience. It was clear to see from that point on, Hanson was the moon that the show was orbiting around.

Hanson, though, is quick to credit Rosenblum, who was hired a week before her, as the catalyst.

“She brought in a lot of experience and a lot of success. [Rosenblum is] a veteran of television programming,” Hanson says. “The whole combination is responsible for what’s happened.”

“Jane is the best writer,” Rosenblum counters. “…I just think what Jane brings is honesty and she’s just really smart, and she’s well-read. It’s unique.”