Tuesday, September 04, 2007

BREAKING NEWS: Carlos Amezcua In, John Beard Out at Fox 11

Carlos Amezcua, new Fox 11 anchor (left) and soon-to-be-ex-Fox 11 anchor John Beard (right)

I just posted the news over at Variety: KTTV/Fox 11 has stolen longtime KTLA anchor Carlos Amezcua, who will take over the station's 10 p.m. newscast (alongside Christine Devine) on Oct. 1. John Beard's contract was not renewed.

The story:

Longtime "KTLA Morning Show" host Carlos Amezcua has hopped to rival KTTV, where he'll co-anchor the Fox-owned station's 10 p.m. newscast beginning Oct. 1.

Out in the anchor shuffle is longtime KTTV anchor John Beard, whose contract was set to expire. The 14-year KTTV vet – who before that had a long run at KNBC – will appear on Fox 11 for the last time on Sept. 28.

Amezcua's move was a surprise, given that he was until recently considered the heir apparent to the KTLA 10 p.m. slot left empty by the recent passing of lengendary anchor Hal Fishman.

In the days following Fishman's death, Amezcua was seen anchoring KTLA's 10 p.m. broadcast, and some thought the move would be made permanent. But Amezcua hasn't been seen in the chair for the last few days – and now it's apparent why.

According to KTTV, Amezcua had been operating without a contract at KTLA for some time, and the channel saw an opportunity to steal him away.

"Carlos is someone that we've had our eye on," said KTTV general manager/VP Kevin Hale. "We think he's an exceptional talent. Oddly enough we found out that his contract had expired, so we saw a window of opportunity. We thought he'd be a great addition to our staff. We had some conversations with him, and very quickly got a long-term contract out of him."

Amezcua will join Christine Devine at the KTTV desk. Asked why the station would make a change when its program is already rated No. 1 at 10 p.m., Hale said he "wanted to continue to try to grow this newscast."

"We want to look at ways to increase ratings, and sometimes that involves change," he said. "We felt the timing was right to make a change."

It's unclear where Beard will wind up next, or if he'll continue in the local TV news market.

"He's been here 14 years and done a great job," Hale said. "He was instrumental in building the 10 p.m. news into an award winning-powerhouse."

Amezcua, a seven-time Emmy winner, helped launch the "KTLA Morning Show" – then called "KTLA Morning News" – in 1991, and has been with the ayem broadcast ever since. Before KTLA, Amezcua worked as a CBS News correspondent and an "NBC Nightly News" reporter. He has also worked for CNN and HBO's "America Undercover," as well as stations in New York, San Diego and Denver.

"This is a tremendous opportunity," Amezcua said. "I look forward to contributing to one of the most well-respected television newscasts and stations in Los Angeles."

With Amezcua out of the running for the KTLA anchor slot alongside Leila Feinstein, candidates to replace Fishman include weekend anchor Frank Buckley.

Readers in the rest of the country may best remember John Beard for his frequent appearances as a news anchor on "Arrested Development."

John Beard in the late 1970s -- "Stay sexy, Los Angeles!"

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