It's time to breathe out," told David Boylan, head of Fox's expanded Los Angeles station operations, to apparently nervous department heads at KCOP(TV) last Tuesday, only hours after Fox took over the Chris-Craft station group.
Across the country, Fox's Jim Clayton says he's asked where he'll live now that he runs a station in New York and a station in New Jersey. "Connecticut," he responds. "It's neutral territory."
But while the station execs tried to keep a lid on anxiety levels, there remained more questions than answers at the end of the newly structured station group's first week on how Fox's three new duopolies, including the number one and two markets, will operate.
Fox had moved quickly to consolidate management in its three automatic duopolies in New York, Los Angeles and Phoenix, promoting its existing station bosses in those markets to larger management roles. FCC approval of the merger had come only days before.
Clayton, who recently left Fox's WJBK(TV) Detroit for New York, will run both Fox's WNYW(TV) and former Chris-Craft station WWOR-TV in nearby Secaucus, N.J. KTTV(TV) Los Angeles head Boylan picked up Chris-Craft's station KCOP(TV), and Kevin Hale will run KSAZ-TV and new acquisition KUTV(TV) in Phoenix.
Gone as of last week were WWOR-TV GM Robert Qudeen, KCOP(TV) GM David Woodcock and KUTP(TV) GM Bob Furlong. The three Chris-Craft managers were informed of their status in advance and informed their staffs Monday. Woodcock, former GM at L.A.'s KCAL(TV), has been a candidate for the GM position being vacated by John Severino at KCBS(TV) Los Angeles, but as yet there has been no deal there.
The major question of newscast changes at either station will be decided later. News staff at both WWOR-TV and KCOP(TV) were told that there are no plans for changes, consolidations or cancellations at present, although some economies of scale seem obvious. "We don't have to have two news crews at one news event," says a Fox executive.