Longtime “KTLA Morning Show” host Carlos Amezcua has jumped to rival KTTV, where he’ll co-anchor the Fox-owned station’s 10 p.m. newscast beginning Oct. 1.
Out in the anchor shuffle is longtime KTTV anchor John Beard, whose contract was set to expire. Beard, who’s spent 14 years at the station after a long run at KNBC, will appear on Fox 11 for the last time on Sept. 28.
Amezcua’s move was a surprise, given that he was until recently considered the heir apparent to the KTLA 10 p.m. slot left empty by the recent death of anchor Hal Fishman.
In the days following Fishman’s death, Amezcua has been anchoring KTLA’s 10 p.m. broadcast, and some thought the move would be made permanent.
But according to KTTV, Amezcua had been operating without a contract at Tribune-owned KTLA for some time, and the station saw an opportunity to steal him away.
“Carlos is someone that we’ve had our eye on,” said KTTV veep-general manager Kevin Hale. “We think he’s an exceptional talent. Oddly enough, we found out that his contract had expired, so we saw a window of opportunity. We thought he’d be a great addition to our staff. We had some conversations with him and very quickly got a long-term contract out of him.”
KTLA execs were said to be surprised by Amezcua’s decision. The anchor, who had been on vacation, informed the “KTLA Morning Show” executive producer on Tuesday morning that he was quitting.
Amezcua will join Christine Devine at the KTTV desk. Asked why the station would make a change when its program is already rated No. 1 at 10 p.m., Hale said he “wanted to continue to try to grow this newscast.”
“We want to look at ways to increase ratings, and sometimes that involves change,” he said. “We felt the timing was right to make a change.”
It’s unclear where Beard will wind up next, or if he’ll continue in the local TV news market.
“He’s been here 14 years and done a great job,” Hale said. “He was instrumental in building the 10 p.m. news into an award winning-powerhouse.”
Amezcua, a seven-time Emmy winner, helped launch the “KTLA Morning Show” — then called “KTLA Morning News” — in 1991 and has been with the ayem broadcast ever since. Before KTLA, Amezcua worked as a CBS News correspondent and an “NBC Nightly News” reporter. He has also worked for CNN and HBO’s “America Undercover,” as well as stations in New York, San Diego and Denver.
With Amezcua out of the running for the KTLA anchor slot alongside Leila Feinstein, candidates to replace Fishman include weekend anchor Frank Buckley, who has been subbing for Amezcua on “KTLA Morning Show.”
But KTLA insiders said it’s more likely the station will look outside to find its next main anchor. KTLA veep-general manager Vinnie Malcolm was traveling Tuesday and unavailable for comment.