KTLA’s once dominant but now second-place “News at Ten” was the focus of intense speculation last week in the wake of a sound thrashing in the November sweeps by KTTV’s “Fox News at Ten. “
Magnifying the situation has been the obvious philosophical gulf separating KTLA’s venerable anchorman Hal Fishman from the station’s recently hired news director David Goldberg. Fishman likes short, crisp stories. Goldberg favors longer, more in-depth pieces. And because Fishman, as managing editor, has the clout in his contract to overrule his news director, it has made for a tense standoff.
Possible scenarios being bandied around town last week had Fishman getting bought out of the final year of his contract and replaced on “News at Ten” by “KTLA Morning News” co-anchor Carlos Amezcua (who filled in for the vacationing Fishman on Friday); Fishman being urged to drop his veto power on the newscast; and Goldberg losing the power struggle and getting shown the door.
But John Riordan, KTLA’s VP and station manager, said Friday there is nothing to any of this, declaring that Fishman “isn’t going anywhere,” that Fishman’s managing editor authority is not under siege and that the veteran anchor gets along just swimmingly with Goldberg, thank you very much.
“It’s all just a lot of hot air,” Riordan said.
Well, maybe. But the cold air putting the “News at Ten” ratings into a frigid funk shows few signs of any imminent warming trend.