Tator quits KTLA news slot

Joel Tator, executive producer of “The KTLA Morning News” and the man widely credited with instituting the loosey-goosey style which has kept the show atop the local ratings throughout the 1990s, abruptly resigned last weekend in the wake of reported clashes with KTLA news director David Goldberg.

“KTLA Morning News” staffers who reported for work early Monday morning apparently found Tator’s office keys taped to the front door of the studio along with a note. He gave no formal notice. No replacement has yet been named.

However, at least one KTLA insider believes Tator is simply acting out of anger and could change his mind about quitting. He has left the program on two previous occasions. The “Morning News” personalities have made on-air pleas this week for Tator’s return to the show.

“Joel is a much-beloved figure at KTLA and in the news business,” the insider said. “A lot of people around the station are considering him not gone but merely lost.”

However, one source noted Tuesday that Tator remains a candidate for the vacant executive producer slot on ABC’s “Good Morning America.” In early spring, another former KTLA news staffer, Ray Brune, took the exec producer post on the ABC News overnight program “World News Now.”

Tator had reportedly been frustrated of late by repeated interference from news director Goldberg after years of virtual autonomy. He was also said to be disappointed with the station’s recent soft-peddling of the KTLA 50th anniversary special that Tator had helped put together.

Added a TV news insider: “Joel is a guy who likes to have fun on the job, and basically KTLA is no longer a fun place to work. It’s as simple as that.”

Neither Tator nor KTLA G.M. John Reardon was available for comment Tuesday. Goldberg, too, was out of the office Tuesday afternoon.

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