Thomas Roberts joining ‘The Insider’

Emmy winner is former Headline News anchor

Veteran reporter Thomas Roberts will join CBS Television Distribution’s “The Insider” team — in New York. The L.A-based entertainment newsmag will be relocating to Gotham this fall, with Roberts’ first day scheduled for Sept. 10.

Roberts is a former Headline News co-anchor who won a 2002 Emmy for an investigative segment on the poor conditions at a dog breeding operation. He will be a correspondent for “The Insider,” while the formerly L.A.-based Pat O’Brien will host and Lara Spencer will co-anchor.

The newly Gothamized show will be taped at Broadway’s Minskoff theater, home of “The Lion King.” There’s no word yet on whether “The Insider” will try to fit its set in the theater with the gigantic scenery from the musical, or how the daily program will record its Wednesday show between the 2 and 8 p.m. performances of the nearly three-hour tuner.

Roberts’ general-interest news background contrasts to some extent with “The Insider’s” focus on entertainment news, but exec producer Linda Bell Blue expressed confidence in Roberts, citing his “sincere disposition” and “extraordinary rapport with viewers.”

“The Insider’s” New York ratings have been steadily growing, up 17% from May 2006 to May 2007. With that increase, and the abundance of celebrity events in the city, CBS Television Distribution execs say the move just made sense. “Entertainment Tonight” will remain in Los Angeles, giving CBS bicoastal penetration.

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