Sunday, May 15, 2011

Age Before Beauty at WDBJ7 News?

Dan Dennison
It was perhaps instructive that WDBJ7 followed the announcement late last week that it had hired 23-year-old Chris Hurst to replace 61-year-old Keith Humphry as its co-anchor for the news at 6 and 11 with an equally weighty hire: 37-year news veteran Dan Dennison is the new news director.

Dennison replaces fired--and highly respected--Amy Morris, who promptly landed with WABC in New York as a producer. He's the guy in charge of restoring the fading viewing habits of the younger watchers.  Dennison was downsized in his most recent job in Hawaii, but that doesn't say much about either capability in this market and in this industry.

The suspicion is that Humphry's departure has to do with these dropping ratings among a key segment (young viewers). That shows up in the hiring of a very young guy as an anchor. But the new guy running the show seems to have some street cred.

We'll see. WDBJ has a history of making the right moves at the right time and maybe this will be one of them.

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