Friday, March 2, 2012

Vickie Burns Out as NBC4 VP for News (LA

Following from LA I wonder if they will bring Jennifer Bjorklund?

Vickie Burns out as NBC 4 VP for news
Kevin Roderick • March 2 2012 10:54 AM

Vickie Burns only got to Channel 4 in July 2010, hailed when she arrived from New York as "a seasoned journalist who has extensive experience running a newsroom." But then she moved around some anchors and reporters, tried going webby on the newscasts without much success and ticked off local Latino groups. When Valari Dobson Staab took over the NBC local stations she noted that KNBC had become "sloppy" and also killed off Burns' digital initiatives Finally, the guy who hired Burns moved upstairs last year, and Steve Carlston took over as station general manager. So now Burns is headed back "east of the Mississippi," as she says in her farewell note to the staff. It's below.

Subject: Note From Vickie

After discussions with Valari and Steve, I've decided to move my career back to my roots. As a Chicago girl, who eventually got very comfortable on the East Coast, it was loyalty to NBC, Larry Wert and Craig Robinson that brought me to Los Angeles in August 2010.

When Craig moved to his new role, I committed to helping a new leader with transition.

Now, it's time for Steve to select a News Director to lead the next phase of growth for KNBC and time for me to get back east of the Mississippi.

My LA Adventure...

Unexpected is perhaps the single best descriptive about my time at KNBC. The unexpected opportunity to lead the local news operation for another NBC flagship. And the unexpected surprises, challenges and delights that awaited me.

Yes, this is one of those "the time has come" departure notes. But indulge me in sharing how much the time spent with this team has enriched me personally and professionally.

First, I discovered an amazing newsroom full of whip smart, quirky, creative people who had been tested by circumstances, many beyond control. That may have dampened the spirit for a time, but none of it dampened the will to succeed or the desire to excel.

Now, the cool stuff. We got bought by Comcast. Winning is the mission again, along with serving viewers better through enterprise reporting and distinctive storytelling. Not to mention the gift of unprecedented resources to accomplish competitive goals. IĆ¢€™ll never forget the single most common question from the early days: can we get the chopper back? Well, News Chopper 4 is once again flying high, as will your ability to win.

I's been so rewarding to watch the evolution of telling stories on multi-platforms. Today the newsroom is buzzing with energy and excitement, embracing the competitive mission around newscasts, the web, Face Book, and Twitter too.

There was a lot of good stuff along the way, accomplished together. Launching Prime Time News LA, during my first month. Thanks to Chuck, Colleen, and a host of talented people, that seemed easy and paved the way to more shared experience. Launching our digital channel, California Nonstop. A year ago this month, stretching our breaking news muscles again to deliver amazing coverage of the earthquake and tsunami that hit Japan. Then last fall, raising the bar with gavel-to-gavel coverage of the Conrad Murray Trial, plus re-launching a competitive newscast at midday. Just two weekends ago, telling LA and the nation about the death of the incomparable Whitney Houston.

Through it all, maintaining the station's legacy of recognition for excellence: a clean sweep of best newscast awards at this year's Golden Mike ceremony. Another clean sweep at the 2011 local Emmys too.

Now, there' a new chapter with Steve on board. I know you'llll work hard for him, but also remember to have fun and enjoy the ride! You've earned all the success coming your way.

And yes, I will miss the legendary LA weather. But, I will miss you guys more.



Wednesday, February 15, 2012

NBC-TV's "SMASH" - Was Lovin' It, Until Episode 2

OK, I have always enjoyed the "SMASH"-type genre of TV dance and drama shows. And Episode 1 of SMASH was terrific. But I was truly disappointed by episode 2. I'll keep tuning in to see if gets better, but here are my thoughts on the second show aired Feb. 13.

1. Script - a line like "can you say something to help us sell papers" is a line out of the '50s or '60s - no one would really say that today.

2. Plot - the Chinese adoption storyline is dull, a distraction and boring.

3. More on The script - the overdone scenes - throwing the drink in the guy's face in the restaurant, the director sleeping with the blonde, we've seen it all before.

4. The chemistry - many of the "couples" seem to have no chemistry at all, I don't get any sense they are really into each other. And the kid saying he had been waiting all his life for a Chinese brother - it didn't ring true for me.

5. It's too dark, too slow, too predictable. I want a goose-bump moment in every episode for a show like this - a showstopper - and while there were musical numbers, there were none that made me want to stand up and sing along in Ep. 2.

6. Remember Goodbye Girl with Richard Dreyfuss and Marsha Mason. It sparkled with great writing, terrific chemistry between the two, and even when Dreyfuss went to table reads for auditions, there was energy, there was passion - you really cheered for the guy. Plus the script was laced with humor - there were laugh moments throughout so you knew who to root for, who to boo at - if SMASH had any of that, it would be a SMASH.

On the good side, Katherine McPhee is pitch-perfect in the key role. She's the reason I will keep going back, hoping for more stand-out performances from the singer, dancer and actress.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

ABC News Celebrates 50 Years (TV Newser)

ABC News Celebrates 50 Years
By Chris Ariens on January 27, 2012 4:19 PM

No one can put a precise date on when ABC News started. But it was in 1962 that the network established an assignment desk and news gathering capabilities: the guts of a TV news organization. And so today, ABC Newsers celebrated 50 years of providing news and information to American homes (and now workplaces and mobile devices).

Employees packed ABC’s TV Studios 1 (former home of “Who Wants to Be Millionaire” and 2 (current home of “The Chew”) which were festooned with images of ABC News anchors and reporters past and present. In addition to hundreds who packed the studio, employees from bureaus around the country and the world were patched in for the celebration.

ABC News president Ben Sherwood was the emcee and was joined by two former ABC News presidents: Bill Sheehan (1974-1977) in Washington, DC and David Westin (1997-2010) in New York. Kaycee Freed Jennings, widow of Peter Jennings, also attended.

The celebration included a video lookback, as well as the first (and probably last) Meatball Awards, presented by Lara Spencer. (The award for tightest t-shirt worn during a natural disaster was a three-way tie going to David Muir, Jeffrey Kofman and Matt Gutman.)

The highlight, insiders say, was John Berman‘s “50 Ways.” With his own lyrics, set to the tune of Paul Simon‘s “50 Ways to Leave Your Lover,” Berman belted out the best of ABC News.

“I think the opportunities at ABC News for our youngest and brightest are nearly limitless and our best days are ahead of us,” said Sherwood at the close of the event.

CNN Draws 5.36 Million for Jacksonville GOP Debate

CNN Draws 5.36 Million for Jacksonville GOP Debate

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Johnny Otis Dies At 90; Was Early TV Favorite on KTLA Ch. 5 in LA

'Godfather of Rhythm & Blues' Dies
NY Times (via TV

A legendary music figure who was a bandleader, songwriter, impresario, disc jockey and talent scout -- who became known as the “godfather of rhythm & blues” -- has died. Johnny Otis was 90.

Otis died Tuesday at his home in Altadena, Calif., The New York Times reports.

(Editor's note: The Johnny Otis Show was a popular favorite on KTLA Channel 5 in the 1950s. To see a clip from a 1959 show with Lionel Hampton, go to this site:

The Times reports: “Leading a band in the late 1940s that combined the high musical standards of big-band jazz with the raw urgency of gospel music and the blues, Mr. Otis played a key role in creating a new sound for a new audience of young urban blacks, a sound that within a few years would form the foundation of rock ’n’ roll.”

Otis was instrumental in launching the careers of many artists, including Etta James, Jackie Wilson, Esther Phillips and Big Mama Thornton, the story notes.

The story adds: “Despite being a mover and shaker in the world of black music, Mr. Otis was not black, a fact that as far as he was concerned was simply an accident of birth. He was immersed in African-American culture from an early age and considered himself, he said, ‘black by persuasion.’”

Among his many talents, Otis played piano, vibraphone and drums. He played on a string of seminal R&B records, including Johnny Ace’s “Pledging My Love” and Charles Brown’s “Drifting Blues,” and also performed on jazz cuts by Lester Young and Illinois Jacquet, the story reports.

“As a bandleader and occasional vocalist, he had a string of rhythm-and-blues hits in the early 1950s and a Top 10 pop hit in 1958 with his composition ‘Willie and the Hand Jive,’ later covered by Eric Clapton and others,” the story reports. “His many other compositions included ‘Every Beat of My Heart,’ a Top 10 hit for Gladys Knight and the Pips in 1961.”

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Char, John Edward On Dr. Phil Tuesday - In LA, 3 pm KCBS/2

Char is a remarkable intuitive medium and author of the new book "LOVE Karma." She had personal appearances Jan. 7 in Glendale and Los Angeles, and will appear with John Edward on Dr. Phil, 3 pm Tuesday, Jan. 10 on KCBS/2. I was at that taping and it was a fun and knowledgeable experience for the audience as well as for Char and John Edward. Here is the Dr. Phil release

Psychic Investigations

Can the living really communicate with the dead? In a daytime television first, world-renowned intuitive mediums John Edward and Char Margolis team up on Dr. Phil’s stage and pull back the curtain to the other side! Watch as the mediums perform LIVE in-studio readings on audience members. What messages do their loved ones have from beyond the grave? Then, a skeptical Dr. Phil sits down for his first-ever psychic reading from Char. Will he become a believer? Plus, the spirit world reveals something Robin would rather keep secret! Then, numerologist Glynis McCants explains how numbers can lead to a love match. Whether you’re already a believer or still on the fence, you won’t want to miss this spirit-filled show!