Five years after WPIX 11 canceled its 6:30 p.m. newscast, the station is bringing it back to life and its bringing a very familiar face back to NYC Television…
Starting in January 2016, WPIX 11 will relaunch a weeknight half-hour local newscast at 6:30 p.m. with PIX 11 News at 6:30. The new half-hour newscast will be the ONLY local newscast on at 6:30 p.m. in the market, but it also marks a return for WPIX 11.
Back on Monday September 14th, 2009, WPIX 11 launched a 6:30 p.m. newscast with Jim Watkins (who was forced out of WPIX 11) and Kaity Tong (who’s still there at WPIX 11). The newscast was on after Inside Edition but due to low ratings, the newscast was axed after Sunday June 27th, 2010 (they did a weekend edition of the newscast as well) and was replaced by syndicated reruns.
(The open and close to WPIX 11’s original PIX 11 News at 6:30 from debut day, Monday September 14th, 2009):
Now, for the most exciting part, WPIX 11 has hired somebody who’s a very familiar face to NYC Television… Brenda Blackmon. Brenda anchored the weeknight 10:00 p.m. newscast on WWOR 9 (MyTV) from 1990, when it was an Independent TV station, to 2013 when the newscast was canceled in favor of Chasing New Jersey, WWOR 9’s TMZ-styled newscast that is still on the air on WWOR 9 at 10:00 p.m. Brenda Blackmon will anchor the new 6:30 p.m. newscast with Kaity Tong, another familiar face to NYC Television. Both have 23 years of experience to their respective stations (Brenda on WWOR and Kaity on WPIX) and are both very respected and popular in the #1 TV market in the United States. Both are also considered as icons and legends in this TV market.
Kaity is moving back to weeknights with WPIX 11 for the first time since 2010, when she was pushed back to weekends. Kaity has been with WPIX 11 since 1993, the time when Kaity was paired with Jack Cafferty (WNBC/CNN) and Sal Marchiano (WCBS/ESPN/WNBC/WABC) on Sports, alongside WPIX 11’s Chief Meteorologist, “Mr. G,” who’s still here and will deliver the weather at 6:30 p.m. (Mr. G’s real name is Mr. Irv Gikofsky). Kaity used to work for WABC 7 from 1981-1991 while “Mr. G” has worked at WPIX 11 since 1993 after last working at WCBS 2 from 1977-1993. Sal has been retired since 2008.
WPIX 11’s President and General Manager, Rich Graziano, in a statement obtained from PIX11.com:
“Brenda is one of the most recognizable and talented journalists in the market and we are are thrilled to pair New York news icons Brenda and Kaity at the anchor desk of PIX 11’s newest newscast. With such a rich history in the market, Brenda and Kaity will be a powerhouse anchor duo at 6:30pm, the only local news in New York.”
While Brenda was away, according to PIX11.com, Brenda started up Brenda Blackmon Communications, Inc., a comprehensive communications strategy firm. Ever since she arrived in 1990, she’s been honored with numerous awards in news and in service, as well as being active in the community.
WPIX 11’s News Director, Amy Waldman in a statement obtained from PIX11.com:
“We are thrilled to bring Brenda back home to New York. Teaming Brenda and Kaity at 6:30pm reinforces PIX 11’s commitment to growing the station’s news brand through the best news talent and news coverage in the market. These two are legends in the tri-state area and we cannot wait to share them and the new broadcast with our viewers.”
WPIX 11’s newest on-air hire and NYC TV news legend/icon, Brenda Blackmon, in a statement obtained from The New York Post:
“It’s hard to make history in New York – everything’s been done – but guess what? PIX is doing something new and best of all, we’re going to be number one. I don’t settle for second-best. The best part of all is that I’ll be sitting next to someone you can rely on with experience and know-how. Kaity is just the best – we’ve hung out before – girls hang out and girls talk – and I respect her and her talent. I’m so exicted. My feet have not touched the ground.”
In terms of the new 6:30 p.m. newscast, it will compete against network newscasts on WCBS 2 (CBS Evening News with Scott Pelley), WNBC 4 (NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt) and WABC 7 (ABC World News TONIGHT with David Muir), as well as TMZ on WNYW 5 (FOX). If you’re wondering about Tamsen Fadal and John Muller, don’t worry. They will continue to anchor WPIX 11’s 5:00, 5:30, 6:00 and 10:00 p.m. newscasts, but that could change if viewers tune in to see Blackmon and Tong and could expand their duties to anchor other newscasts.
So basically, more news is coming to NYC on WPIX 11 and Brenda Blackmon comes back to NYC Television. If you ask me, this is a complete win-win for the station.