Wednesday, May 13, 2009

KNBC Bids Farewell to Paul Moyer, Who Can't Be Bothered to Leave the Golf Course

It's been a rather awkward departure for Paul Moyer at KNBC. After anchoring at the station for the past 17 years, his exit went out with a bit of a whimper: Moyer was on vacation when word first leaked that he was leaving; as a result, he sent a statement to the Channel 4 newsroom but said he'd be back for a proper goodbye.

Instead, Moyer -- who was bought out of his contract by NBC, which was looking to cut his salary, rumored to be around $3 million year -- never returned to the desk. In another statement several weeks after his retirement announcement, Moyer said he'd decided to forgo the hoopla and just move on. Some wondered whether Moyer was angry at how his departure was handled, especially given his lengthy tenure at the station.

Moyer got caught up in the trend among cash-strapped local TV stations to get rid of big-bucks anchors who are local institutions, but nonetheless are no longer affordable.

It looks like Moyer must have agreed to some sort of tribute after all, as he finally returned to KNBC's airwaves on Tuesday afternoon's 5 p.m. newscast. But he still stayed far away from the station's Burbank newsroom, opting to appear via live remote from the Riviera Country Club in Pacific Palisades.

It looks like Moyer has been spending a lot of time at the Riviera golf course in recent weeks; via the remote, he said the "free time is great" but that he still misses the action.

One thing's for sure: He won't be back on Channel 4 anytime soon. He made that very clear, stressing that should he return to the airwaves one day, it would not be at KNBC. Read into that what you will.

"I gotta tell you something, there isn't a day that goes by that I don't want to get in the car and go back in time with you guys and do it all over again," Moyer told co-anchor Colleen Williams, as well as sports anchor Fred Roggin and weatherman Fritz Coleman. "But, of course, that's not going to happen, at least not at Channel 4."

Before getting back to golf, Moyer thanked a litany of staffers, including KNBC news director Bob Long (whom he thanked for "protecting the product") and Channel 7 (where he worked in the late 1980s, early 1990s).

"Am I done in Los Angeles? Yeah, I'm done at Channel 4," he said. "Beyond that I gotta tell you something, I don't know. I really haven't got a clue. But I can tell you this, for me right now it is family and it is making up for lost time with that schedule. This is difficult, but it is goodbye."

Coleman then joked that Moyer -- standing in front of Riviera's lush greens -- looked like he was straight out of an ad for Scott's Turf Builder. Williams, Coleman and Roggin also kept gushing about how great Moyer looked.

A few shots from the tribute:

Classic Paul Moyer moment: During the 1996 Atlanta Olympics bombing, Channel 4 rushes to the air -- and Paul doesn't have time to throw on a pair of pants.

Check out a very young Kelly Lange. Lange was KNBC's first female co-anchor; she worked alongside Moyer in the 1970s, and then again in the 1990s after Moyer returned to the station.

At one time, both Moyer and Tom Snyder worked at KNBC together (Moyer replaced Snyder on the weeknight newcast once Snyder went national). People at the time joked about how much they looked alike; there's a definite poofy hair-and-sideburns similarity.

Previously on Franklin Avenue:
Channel 4's Paul Moyer: Never Can Say Goodbye (April 24)

Retro Friday: Paul Moyer Edition (April 3)

BREAKING NEWS: Paul Moyer Out at KNBC (April 1)

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