Layoffs at L.A.’s KCBS/KCAL

Morning anchor among those pinkslipped

CBS’ Los Angeles KCBS/KCAL duopoly has handed out pink slips to several staffers — including morning co-anchor Suzanne Rico.

Simultaneously, KCBS weathercaster Johnny Mountain has announced that he will re-retire from TV (having already announced his retirement once, at KABC). And the duopoly has signed longtime sports anchor Jim Hill (now in his 34th year as an L.A. sportscaster) to a new multi-year contract extension.

Moves are among the first made by new KCBS/KCAL prexy/GM Steve Mauldin, as well as recently hired news director Scott Diener.

According to insiders, the decision to let some staffers go came after Maudlin and Diener evaluated the news team and decided to make some changes in several positions. The station plans to re-fill most of those jobs.

That includes Rico’s position, which will temporarily be handled by reporter Lisa Sigell. Rico had served as weekday 5 a.m. to 7 a.m. and 11 a.m co-anchor, alongside Kent Shocknek. Rico had been with KCBS since 2002.

Other cuts Friday included news operations manager Doug Dougherty and executive producer Jeff Soto.

As for Mountain, the weathercaster retired in 2005 after 27 years at KABC — but then was soon hired up by KCBS as part of its new anchor team.

Mountain has served as KCBS’ 5 p.m., 6 p.m. and 11 p.m. weather anchor since May 2005.

“I have been blessed to have had such a long and wonderful run on Los Angeles television and I feel fortunate to have been part of a team that includes many dear friends both in front of and behind the cameras,” Mountain said.

According to Mauldin, KCBS/KCAL weathercasters Jackie Johnson and Josh Rubenstein will handle KCBS’ weather reports until a permanent replacement is named.

“I have had the pleasure of knowing Johnny Mountain for nearly 30 years, going back to our time together at KABC, and have always admired him for being a class act, a gifted broadcaster and one of the funniest and most charismatic people in our business,” Mauldin said.

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