Era of the celebrity broadcaster fades on local TV

Era of the celebrity broadcaster fades on local TV

These quotes sum it up:

“The TV programs won’t be as personality-driven as they once were,” said Chet Curtis, who coanchored WCVB-TV (Channel 5) evening news as a powerhouse team with Natalie Jacobson, his former wife, and now works for NECN. “TV stations decided they could find reasonably attractive people and pay them less money and attract if not the same audience, in some cases, a larger audience.”

Moreover, media analysts said the increasingly fragmented media landscape makes it difficult to create local news celebrities and now stations are less willing to pay the six- and seven-figure salaries for top anchors.

“We’re in a totally different world in 2008,” said Philip S. Balboni, founder of New England Cable News and a former Channel 5 executive who in the early 1980s created the TV magazine show “Chronicle.” “It’s almost impossible to create a local news star today because viewership is so much reduced that no one gets the kind of exposure they did in the ’70s, ’80s, and early 1990s.”

Lobel, in an interview yesterday, said: “All the people that they were branding back when I was in the business – Liz [Walker], Jack [Williams], and Natalie [Jacobson] – all that is over. No one is branded anymore. The stations brand themselves. That’s just the way it is now.”