New York Anchor to Replace Peterson; WUSA-TV Assembles Fresh Team to Help Shore Up Ratings

The Washington Times (Washington, DC), August 10, 2004 | Go to article overview

New York Anchor to Replace Peterson; WUSA-TV Assembles Fresh Team to Help Shore Up Ratings


Byline: Chris Baker, THE WASHINGTON TIMES

WUSA-TV (Channel 9) is preparing to replace iconic broadcaster Gordon Peterson on at least one of its newscasts with Todd McDermott, a reporter and anchor at the CBS station in New York, people familiar with the situation said yesterday.

The change comes as WUSA, the Washington area's troubled CBS affiliate, prepares for the September debut of Tracey Neale, a popular anchor who left WTTG-TV (Channel 5) in December to join WUSA.

The station's managers and its corporate parent, Gannett Co. Inc., hope Ms. Neale will reverse WUSA's steep ratings decline.

The station has worked all summer to assemble a new group of anchors to join her on the set. By October, they hope to have Ms. Neale, Mr. McDermott and a new chief sportscaster in place.

Topper Shutt is expected to continue as the station's chief meteorologist.

Darryll J. Green, WUSA's president and general manager, declined comment.

The station has been dealing with slumping viewership and morale all summer.

Last week, news director David Roberts was ousted and Mr. Green told morning weathercaster Hillary Howard her contract will not be renewed when it ends in mid-October.

Mr. McDermott is expected to sign a deal this week to join WUSA in September.

He probably will be paired with J.C. Hayward on the station's weekday 5 p.m. newscast and with Ms. Neale on its 11 p.m. program, although that could change, the sources said. …

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