The head of CBS' combined KCBS-TV and KCAL(TV) news operations in Los
Angeles will not be KCBS news director Princell Hair, as initially thought, but
KCAL(TV) Los Angeles news director Nancy Bauer-Gonzales, sources told
Broadcasting & Cable.
Don Corsini, general manager at the group's Los Angeles duopoly, has made clear his
preference for the KCAL news director, sources said.
There was nothing official early Wednesday, although station staffers expected
an announcement this week.
CBS had no comment.
Hair could not be reached for comment, and it was unclear what his future
role at CBS would be, although CBS is likely to try to find a place for him, possibly in
his previous role consulting various stations in the large CBS group.
Hair had been recruited from Hearst-Argyle Television Inc.'s WBAL-TV by CBS group head
of news Joel Cheatwood -- with whom Hair had worked in Chicago and Miami -- to
help oversee news at the CBS group. He was then asked to take over the
ratings-challenged KCBS-TV news department late last year.
When KCAL was purchased by CBS, it was unofficially
expected that KCBS-TV GM David Woodcock -- who had come to the station less
than a year before -- would run the duopoly, and newly installed KCBS-TV news
director would run the combined news departments.
CBS insiders noted at the time, though, that top CBS management had a high
opinion of Corsini and that it was likely that Bauer-Gonzales would be asked to
stay on in a news management role.
But following the surprise exit of Woodcock last month, CBS quickly named
KCAL GM Corsini to head the then-pending duopoly.
KCBS-TV staff said Corsini met with KCBS staff and made known his preference
for Bauer-Gonzales, whom he'd hired at KCAL.
Sources said Corsini noted that Hair had come from Baltimore and that those
without Los Angeles experience were less likely to "know what works in L.A.," a staffer
Sources inside KCBS-TV told B&C Corsini "told us that the
ratings prove nobody's watching."
Bauer-Gonzales has that Los Angeles experience not only with KCAL, but
also as news director at the market's top-rated KNBC(TV) and several years at KNBC prior
KCBS-TV news staffers told B&C they
respect Bauer-Gonzales' background, but they were concerned about what they consider
KCAL's "T&A-style" news, adding that Hair was held in high esteem.
KCBS staffers said that when asked about that approach to news, Corsini -- who
could not be reached for comment -- "acknowledged that it was over the top
but said KCAL only did that for the Laker fans."
One KCBS-TV staffer noted that the tension is likely
exacerbated by the knowledge that the duopoly combination endangers jobs, adding that while anxious about Corsini's direction, some staffers appreciated
that he'd been honest about that direction.