Former KABC-TV news anchor and magazine maven Chuck Henry has emerged as the front-runner to replace 12-year KNBC-TV vet John Beard, who starts Monday as an anchor for KTTV.
Although there was no confirmation from any of the principals regarding Henry , the former “Eye on L.A.” host is known to have auditioned last week at KNBC along with another anchor from Miami. The station reportedly tested Henry in combination with various KNBC anchors.
Market sources say that KNBC has sent out signals that it wants Henry to join the station, possibly in January.
It could not be determined whether he would move into the 4 p.m. anchor slot vacated by Beard, who made his final appearance on KNBC Wednesday at the conclusion of the November sweeps.
Since arriving at KNBC from the CBS affil in Buffalo, N.Y., in June 1981, Beard has anchored the station’s 4, 6 and 11 p.m. newscasts.
KTTV has confirmed reports (Daily Variety, Oct. 26) that Beard will become co-anchor of the Fox O&Os’ 10 p.m. news on Monday.
As previously reported, Beard was supposedly unhappy with the direction of KNBC’s news and his diminished role since the return of Paul Moyer last year. He was said to be willing to work for less money under KTTV general manager Tom Capra, a former KNBC news director.
It’s believed that he received a three-year deal worth about $ 450,000 annually — roughly half of what he was making at the Peacock O&O.
Beard replaces Bob Donley, who has been in the anchor chair since March, but now returns to his role as Inland Empire reporter in Riverside.
Capra said he chose Beard, who will be paired with Christine Devine on the primetime newscast (and pull double duty New Year’s Day as co-host of the station’s two live Rose Parade telecasts), because he is one of the “four or five best-known anchors” in town.
The addition, Capra noted, will give the station “a real shot” at catching the market’s indie news leader, KTLA. The two stations are now roughly 2 rating points apart.
Henry would also represent a known commodity for KNBC. He joined KABC in the early 1970s as a weekday anchor, but left in 1977 for a three-year stint at NBCowned WMAQ-TV in Chicago.
Returning to KABC in 1980, Henry worked as a weekend anchor and eventually signed on as host of the access magazine strip “Eye on L.A.”
In 1988, John Rohrbeck, the former KNBC general manager who went on to become president of all the Peacock O&Os, was reported to have offered Henry a four-year deal worth $ 2 million to anchor KNBC’s news and host an access magazine show.
But KABC, which had pulled production of “Eye” in-house, outbid KNBC for Henry’s services and gave him total control of the show.
Henry has since started his own production company, where he has been producing travel shows with his new partner, KCBS-TV vet John Lippman.