Mark Hoffman, a tabloid-oriented news director at CBS-owned WBBM-TV in Chicago, reportedly has been offered the job of news director at KNBC-TV.
The KNBC post has been empty since former news director Nancy Valenta abruptly resigned following the O&O’s less-than-glowing performance in the November sweeps.
NBC O&O prez John Rohrbeck is said to have made it worth the well-regarded Hoffman’s while to jump from the nation’s No. 3 to the No. 2 TV market.
It is uncertain whether Hoffman would have a news veepee title for the owned station group or possibly an elevated title at KNBC. Either way, sources said he will be directly responsible for the Los Angeles station’s news operation.
Hoffman, who oversaw the No. 3-rated news operation in Chicago, reportedly will earn twice as much as any news director in Los Angeles–a gamble for a financially pinched station that has been fending off criticism of its big-bucks deal for anchor Paul Moyer.
Hoffman is said to have accepted the job after freeing himself from his commitment to WBBM, but that could not be confirmed. A KNBC spokeswoman said the station doesn’t comment on personnel matters.
One of the factors complicating the move was Hoffman’s allegiance to his mentor, WBBM general manager Bill Applegate. The two worked together a number of years ago at WLS-TV, the ABC-owned station in Chicago. Hoffman served as exec producer of thestation’s early and late news when Applegate was N.D.
When Applegate went to WABC-TV in New York as news director, he took Hoffman along as assistant N.D. That led to a news director post for Hoffman at WAGA-TV in Atlanta and the experience needed to head WBBM’s news operation when Applegate returned to run the O&O.
The choice of Hoffman for KNBC-TV is a sensitive one, with sources noting that WNBC-TV assistant N.D. Paula Walker had been promised the next news director opening at the NBC-owned stations.
Walker was passed over last June for the WNBC N.D. post in favor of Bruno Cohen, who is also understood to have received a lucrative deal that included veepee stripes.
Once the new news director gets settled in, he will have to decide whether to move anchor Colleen Williams back from weekends to the weekday slot opposite Moyer.
Wendy Tokuda has been paired with Moyer since his arrival at KNBC last summer , but Williams recently retained Moyer’s agent, attorney Ed Hookstratten, to represent her.
KCBS LANDS HOROWITZ: Speaking of KNBC, the station’s former consumer reporter and “Fight Back!” host, David Horowitz, turned up yesterday on KCBS-TV. The long-term deal, which had been expected (Daily Variety, Oct. 7, 1992), will include a new half-hour weekly TV show that Horowitz hopes to take into syndication.
His consumer-reporting duties will include product testing, best buys and other areas he pioneered. Horowitz will appear primarily on the station’s 5 p.m. newscast, but KCBS news director John Lippman said he could turn up on any news program throughout the day if he breaks a major story.
Horowitz joins KCBS “Troubleshooter” Judd McIlvain, making KCBS the only station in Los Angeles with two consumer reporters. McIlvain will continue to respond to consumer complaints, while Horowitz will handle reporting.
KCBS will provide Horowitz with a secretary, researchers and interns, all of which were stripped from him at KNBC when the station dissolved its consumer reporting unit last August.
Horowitz hopes to get his new weekly show, which he said will have a harder edge than the long-running “Fight Back!,” on the air before spring. It will air at 4 p.m. Saturday, leading into McIlvain’s half-hour “Troubleshooter” show.
The eventual goal is to get the show back into syndication. “Fight Back!” ran for 18 years on KNBC and was distributed nationally for a dozen of those.
KTLA’S ROSY PERFORMANCE: Despite a major effort by Fox-owned KTTV to stem KTLA’s ratings dominance in its coverage of the Tournament of Roses parade, Channel 5 has proved victorious once again. The Tribune Broadcasting indie, which has broadcast the Rose Parade for 47 years, easily outdelivered all three networks and Fox competition combined with its broadcast of the 104th annual Pasadena float flotilla.
KTLA garnered a 23.8 rating/47 share in Nielsen overnight ratings, ranking well ahead of its nearest competitor, KTTV, with an 8.5/17. The showing provided the station with its 18th consecutive win.
Still, KTTV managed to increase its share from last year, while KTLA dropped in rating and share points in both services. In Arbitron, where KTLA scored a 23 .9/49, the station was down 14% in rating and 11% in share from the 1992 telecast.
In the second showing of the Rose Parade from 10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m., KTTV’s live broadcast from the end of the route lost out to KTLA’s rerun, but trimmed the leader’s ratings advantage. KTLA earned a 12.8/25 vs. a 7.0/14 for KTTV, which jumped 40% in rating and 33% in share in Arbitron over last year’s rebroadcast.
KTLA’s second airing was flat in Nielsen compared to 1992, but dropped 20% in rating and 23% in share in Arbitron from last year.
NEWSIES: Kim Paul Friedman has joined KTTV News as exec producer of the station’s new morning newscast, which is expected to launch in the next few months. He is a veteran producer and director.
Meanwhile, KTTV has upped Larry Croner to managing editor of its nightly newscast. He most recently served as special projects coordinator for the station.