Fired NY Anchor Passes the Buck

Last week, FTVLive told you about the News 12 the Bronx morning newscast, and how an open mic caught Amy Yensi and Matt Pieper talking about school crossing guards in certain areas, when they made the following comments on air:

Pieper: And Dave wants you to also mention that parents do their fucking jobs and walk their little kids to school on their own and not rely on everyone else kind of like people rely on government assistance for their entire lives. And bye Felicia. I actually added the part about government assistance but it’s true. I mean, how old are these kids?

Yensi: I think I qualify for government assistance (laughs)

Pieper: Just check that box, girl

Yensi: EBT.

Pieper has been fired from his job and took to social media to kind of say he was sorry, but also passed the buck blaming his words on someone else.

Pieper posted the following: 

"As a professional who has spent his entire career delivering the news, I understand the importance of sharing the facts. The situation that transpired on September 24th was extremely unfortunate and I feel the need to communicate what occurred and clear the air. The incident was broadcast accidentally when we were supposed to be in a commercial break, not on the air. Someone in the control room spoke into my earpiece and asked me to relay a message to our reporter out in the field. These were not my own thoughts or profanities. In relaying that information, I made a poor decision in my choice of words and for that I apologize. I could have communicated what I was asked to get across in a different manner and under the pressure of doing my job in real time I made a mistake. I have been a stalwart advocate for equality and diversity in the workplace, within my own family and in my community. I apologize to anyone I offended and assure you that this situation—which has cost me my job—was truly just a mistake in relaying a message, and not a representation of my views or character."

So, Pieper is casting the blame to "someone in the control room," who we know from watching the tape is "Dave". Pieper also said on the open mic "I actually added the part about government assistance but it’s true. I mean, how old are these kids?"

So, in Pieper's own words, he believed the statement to be true and even added to it. 

 It appears that the only thing Pieper is really sorry for, is the fact that he was fired. 

Denver GM is Out the Door

The Denver Post reports that longtime KMGH boss Byron Grandy, who rose from news director to become vice president and general manager of the station, abruptly resigned his post and left the company, Scripps confirmed Monday.

Grandy joined KMGH, then owned by McGraw-Hill Broadcasting, as news director in December 2000. He was named station manager in July 2008.

Steve Wasserman, vice president and general manager of WPTV West Palm Beach (an NBC affiliate owned and operated by The E.W. Scripps Company) and divisional general manager for Scripps, is serving as interim general manager. Wasserman declined to comment on the reasons for or manner of Grandy’s departure but supplied a note to the staff:

I want to inform you that Byron Grandy has resigned as general manager of KMGH effective immediately and has left the company. Byron has made significant contributions to the station during his years here as news director and GM and the station is stronger as a result. Scripps wishes him well as he moves to the next stage of his career.

An extensive search for his successor will begin immediately. In the interim, I will be serving as acting general manager. I look forward to meeting with as many of you as possible in the coming weeks and to thank you for the excellent work you have been doing and, no doubt, will be doing in the future.

Steve Wasserman
VP/ Divisional General Manager
Scripps Television

Some newsroom staffers said they were taken by surprise. Competitors noted the company’s dissatisfaction with lagging ratings may have played a role in Grandy’s departure.

Changing Channels

The Agents at Napoli Management have a number of clients moving into new jobs or being promoted at their current station. The company is proud to announce the following moves:

Sheinelle Jones is appointed News Anchor for Weekend TODAY on NBC. Sheinelle recently left the highly-rated “Good Day Philadelphia” where she was co-host. She joined WTXF nine years ago as a reporter. She is a graduate of Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism.

AJ Ross joins WABC in New York as a MMJ.  She leaves WKYC in Cleveland where she was a general assignment reporter.

Whit Johnson is promoted to anchor the weekday morning news for KNBC in Los Angeles.  Whit has been the noon anchor and reporter for the station for the past two years.

Chris Cristi joins the reporting team in the skies over Los Angeles with KNBC/Angel City Air as an evening helicopter reporter.  Most recently, Chris was a freelance helicopter reporter for KCBS/KCAL in Los Angeles.

Stephanie Stanton joins KTTV in Los Angeles as a freelance reporter.  Previously she was a freelance reporter for NBC News Channel.

Keith Russell is named Sports Anchor for WTXF FOX 29 Game Day Live Football Coverage, and Fox 29 Weekend News. 

Paul Mueller returns to WBIN New England as the primary anchor for New Hampshire One.  Previously he was a reporter for Bay News 9 in Tampa.

Ama Daetz has been promoted to evening anchor at KGO in San Francisco.  Previously, she was the weekend anchor.

Brian Monahan joins COX owned WSB-TV in Atlanta as weekend meteorologist.  He leaves KIRO in Seattle where he was morning meteorologist.

Kaitlin McCulley joins Disney’s KTRK in Houston as an MMJ.  She leaves WIAT in Birmingham where she also was an MMJ.

Justin Pazera joins KNXV in Phoenix as a reporter for the new Scripps newscast “The Now” which will focus on social media content.  Justin was the weekend anchor and reporter for KMTV in Omaha.

More moves after the jump.  

Read More

CNN Pays George Zimmerman's $3600 Hotel Bill

The magazine GQ wrote a long article about George Zimmerman and his family that included a few interesting nuggets.

 Robert, George’s brother, recounts the conditions under which the two of them agreed to an interview with CNN. In short, it involved taking CNN for all hotel minibar bottles money can buy.

Mediaite writes that CNN offered to pay for two Ritz-Carlton hotel rooms in Miami for three nights, plus “everything” the Zimmermans wanted during their stay, according to Robert.

From GQ:

The Zimmermans seized on their brief stint of subsidized luxury. They ran up a big room-service bill, cleaned out the minibars, got their clothes laundered, made several trips to the spa, treated a party of ten to dinner at the hotel restaurant, and bought swag—from bracelets to bath fizzies—at the gift shop.

The result was a $3,600 tab presented to Robert at the end of the stay. He sent it to a CNN producer who then supposedly told Robert, “You and your brother are evil!”

Robert said he then had a near panic attack.

It gets both better and worse:

Unconsoled, Robert called the only person he could think of: [HLN's] Dr. Drew, who’d been kind to him when he went on Drew’s TV show shortly before George’s trial. He reached a producer, who told him Dr. Drew wasn’t available. But the guy was nice, at least. He stayed on the phone awhile and talked Robert down. Eventually CNN agreed to pay the bill, and the next morning Robert returned the only purchases he could: a bottle of Mercedes-Benz cologne and a Ritz-Carlton wallet that George had bought him to say thanks.

At the end of the article, there is a story about Robert (who is gay) nearly sleeping with an unnamed “female cable-news talking head.”

GQ drops this little detail in a lengthy parenthetical toward the end, after discussing Robert’s newfound role as the family’s official spokesman:

His family-spokesman gig has been making him feel especially torn lately. On the one hand, he enjoys the attention. (At one point he tells me a long, hilarious story about a surreal night of drinking recently in New York City with a female cable-news talking head and the Navy Seal who allegedly shot Osama bin Laden. Robert says he wound up in bed with the cable-news commentator and, even though his sexuality seems to be pointed in the wrong direction, they began hooking up, until his bracelet got caught in her hair.)

Anyone want to take a guess as to who “female cable-news talking head” was?

H/T Gawker

Orlando Station Did Not Disclose Connection

As FTVLive told you, WFTV had hired Casey Anthony Judge Belvin Perry to offering analysis and make commentaries. 

But in Perry's latest stint on WFTV, the station did not come clean with viewers.

The Orlando Sentinel writes that during a report last night, legal analyst Perry ripped into a commercial against Amendment 2. That widely discussed amendment pushes for the legalization of medical marijuana in Florida. Perry complained that the ad plays on fears and amounts to a giant smoke screen.

After Perry offered his sharp comments, WFTV didn’t note that Perry now works for the Morgan & Morgan law firm. Attorney John Morgan is the chief proponent of Amendment 2.

WFTV needed to note that connection. Otherwise, that's a smoke screen, too.

Newsweek adds warning to Zakaria Articles

While CNN's bosses and media critic Brian Stelter does not seem to have a problem with Fareed Zakaria's serial plagiarism problem, it seems most others do.

In fact, Zakaria's former employer Newsweek has gone so far to add a warning to his archived columns.

Newsweek writes:

"Fareed Zakaria worked for Newsweek when it was under previous ownership. Readers are advised that some of his articles have been the subject of complaints claiming that they contain material that should have been attributed to others," the note reads. "In addition, readers with information about articles by Mr. Zakaria that may purportedly lack proper attribution are asked to e-mail Newsweek at corrections@newsweek.com."

Ouch!

CNN and it's boss Jeff Zucker has yet to do anything about the Zakaria's plagiarism claims and says he has "complete confidence" in the anchor.

H/T Politico

Amid Job Cuts, Turner Boss Lives the High Life

If you're one of those being pushed out the door at CNN, HLN or another Turner property, you might not be happy to read this.

While Turner is cutting hundreds of jobs, company president David Levy, traveled to the Ryder Cup in Scotland in style.

Levy was whisked to the Ruder Cup by private jet, and once there, he “entertained clients who were flown around the courses in helicopters,” a spy reports.

“It’s a bit rich to be pissing away money like that,” sniffed a source about Levy’s luxe trip. Turner Sports manages the Ryder Cup site.

“For security reasons, we don’t comment on executive travel,” said a Turner rep, “but we’ll confirm that we entertained Turner advertisers at the Ryder Cup, as we have in previous years. Our company has a longstanding business partnership with the PGA of America . . . ground transportation arrangements were in line with those of other companies hosting business guests.”

H/T Page Six

If you Want to Go to Al Sharpton's Birthday Party it Will Cost You

Al Sharpton's 60th birthday party is coming up and if you want to attend it will cost you between $1,500 to $25,000 bucks.

The MSNBC host is holding the party tomorrow night at Four Seasons restaurant in New York. 

But his “Party for a Cause” is also helping raise money for his National Action Network.

Page Six says that $1,500 gets you in as a “medallion” committee member, $2,500 buys “tracksuit” status, and $25,000 “preacher status.”

MSNBC boss Phil Griffin is attending, no word if he has "preacher status" or not. 

NBC Anchor Proposes to WABC Anchor

NBC's Josh Elliot popped the question to WABC Anchor Liz Cho and she said "yes."

The NY Daily News says that the two, who’ve been dating since 2012, became engaged during a European vacation over the summer.

Elliott works for NBC Sports and previously did stints at ABC’s “Good Morning America” and at various ESPN programs. Cho co-anchors “Eyewitness News” for WABC in New York City.

This will be the second marriage for both; each has a daughter in elementary school.

Elliott popped the question during the August trip, and the couple has since remained quiet about their engagement, said the source.

A wedding date has not been set.

And props for not doing it on camera and wasting viewers time.

Good job guys. 

Like We Said....

Screen Shot 2014-09-30 at 6.00.28 AM.png

Back on September 15th, FTVLive reported that WJLA Reporter Kris Van Cleave was leaving the station and was headed to CBS Newspath. 

Yesterday, CBS finally got around to making that news official.

In a press release, CBS writes:

Kris Van Cleave has been named a correspondent for CBS Newspath, the Network’s 24-hour television newsgathering service for CBS stations and broadcasters around the world.  He will be based in New York City, and his appointment is effective immediately.

Former Philly Sports Anchor Pleads Guilty to Fraud

Culminating an astonishing descent, former Philly Sports Anchor Don Tollefson pleaded guilty today in a fraud scheme involving 200 victims and at least $317,000 in bogus travel packages, supposedly sold to raise money for charity.

Tollefson told Bucks County Judge Rea B. Boylan that he had struggled with "45 years of alcoholism and drug addiction and multiple mental-health issues."

"I just really want the healing process to begin," Tollefson said after the proceeding, while paying the monthly fee at the county probation office for his ankle-bracelet monitor. "I really want people to understand, and heal myself."

Sentencing was deferred for 60 days to give defense attorney Sharif Abaza time to make a case for leniency, however Abaza said he did expect Tollefson to receive some jail time.

 "We're just waiting for our money -- still," said victim Cindy Moffitt, who attended the proceeding,

Tollefson was arrested in February for allegedly selling the packages in part to raise money for charity. For instance, tickets to the Super Bowl or an out-of-town Eagles game often never materialized, nor did some of the promised hotel rooms and airfare, police said.

Tollefson was once the city's highest-paid sportscaster, described by Howard Cosell as the "most extraordinary talent I've ever encountered." Over the years he became known for his charity work.

But at some point, according to police, Tollefson turned his celebrity and philanthropy into a ruse, selling travel packages at bargain prices to admirers who thought they were helping a cause.

Tollefson said that on Oct. 10 he will mark his first anniversary of sobriety.

H/T Philly Inquirer