WABC-TV, Channel 7 Eyewitness News, has updated its Twitter handle to the station's now standard "ABC7NY" branding. Over the past several months, WABC quietly changed the station's Instagram handle and Facebook link to "ABC7NY," but had left the Twitter presence as "EyewitnessNYC." This was presumably done to maintain the station's verified status, but this has not been confirmed by WABC. The anchors and reporters began promoting stories with the new handle following WABC's official announcement via Twitter at about 3:30 this afternoon.
As a major storm bears down on the New York City metro area, just in time for Thanksgiving, the NYC stations are preparing their weather and reporting teams. WCBS has its "Eye on the Storm," WNBC is prepped and ready to go with "Storm Team 4," Fox 5 has the "NY Weather Authority" team all set, WABC has put the area under an "AccuWeather Alert," and finally, WPIX's weather team is standing by, to inform viewers of any changes to the forecast and conditions.
WCBS will begin their morning newscast on Wednesday morning a half hour earlier at 4am to cover the severe weather. WNBC followed suit, also confirming that its newscast will begin early at 4am. WPIX morning news begins at 4am every morning. At the time of publication, WABC said that they would be beginning on schedule at 4:30am, but that was subject to change if the weather worsened over night. No comment from Fox 5 on their morning plans.
For tomorrow, viewers can expect full coverage until the morning networks program begin (CBS, NBC, ABC) and then half hourly cut ins all morning from the weather centers.
It was announced just about an hour ago that Rob Nelson will be replacing Phil Lipof on WABC as weekend morning news anchor. Nelson is currently a correspondent for ABC News, but he's no stranger to anchoring the news. He anchored ABC’s World News NOW and America This Morning for several years. He left these programs in early 2013 to become a correspondent for the network. Nelson released a statement on Twitter on Tuesday afternoon, saying “So excited to announce that in January, I'll be joining the best news team in NYC as a weekend morning anchor and reporter at @eyewitnessnyc”. (-@TVRobNelson)
Nelson's predecessor, Phil Lipof, will co anchor his final newscast on December 8, 2013 before leaving for WCVB, the ABC affiliate in Boston, Massachusetts.
Nelson will join WABC's Michelle Charlesworth and Amy Freeze on weekends.
Beginning today with Eyewitness News at Noon, viewers of WABC-TV, the flagship station of the Disney-owned ABC Television Network, and the ratings leader in New York, will see updated shots of anchors and meteorologists at the top of every newscast. The opens were not updated previously since the current graphics package debuted on the channel in 2011. While there has only been one personnel change, and one on the way, the shots were outdated, as described by the morning producer for Eyewitness News.
The only personnel change was the switch of traffic reporters Joe Nolan and Heather O'Rourke, with Nolan moving from the morning newscast to the afternoon newscasts, and O'Rourke moving from the afternoon to the morning. Although the refreshed morning open didn't debut this morning due to technical difficulties, it is expected that O'Rourke will be included in the talent open, as the new promotional commercials have included her.
The upcoming personnel change will be in December, when weekend morning anchor Phil Lipof will leave WABC for WCVB-TV, the flagship station of the Hearst Television Network, which owns and operates affiliates for the major networks. WCVB covers the Boston metropolitan area, and is the largest ABC station not owned and operated by Disney-ABC. The refreshed open for this newscast will likely debut tomorrow, but will be reverted to a general Eyewitness News open with no talent, until Lipof's successor is named and new anchor shots are taken.
More on this story on Monday, after all of the opens debut.
>>UPDATE: In the refreshed open for Eyewitness News This Morning, there are updated shots of all the anchors, and Heather O'Rourke was added. For the weekend refreshed opens, WABC updated the shots of the anchors, as expected.
WNBC viewers have noticed a new face at the anchor desk in studio 3C. Sibila Vargas joined the WNBC family on October 21st. She comes to WNBC from KCBS the CBS O&O in Los Angeles. Sibila will serve as the stations noon co-anchor along with Rob Schmitt who also joined WNBC from KCBS over the summer. She will also serve as the 6PM co-anchor along with the iconic Chuck Scarborough. Chuck has solo anchored “NEWS 4 New York At 6PM” since Sue Simmons left WNBC two years ago. Sibila is no stranger to the tri-state area she told viewers she was “born and raised in Queens and it’s just a dream come true to be back home”. Chuck joked around with Sibila as he welcomed here to the team saying “he has to learn how to share again”. Ny_NewsObserver and NYNewser would like to extend our warmest welcomes to Sibila as she begins her career at NEWS4 we look forward to watching you! Twitter users can follow her @Sibila4NY.
NOTE: WCBS and WNYW share choppers therefore Joe Beirmann reports for both stations.
What began as a regular night of news coverage for all local New York stations quickly developed into a “BREAKING NEWS” situation. Around 9:19PM EST a shooter walked into the Garden State Plaza Mall and began shooting. WNYW was the first local station to break in with coverage shorty after the beginning of the 10PM newscast around 10:08EST. FOX5 had first live arial pictures of the situation unfolding from Joe Biermann in SkyFoxHD. Shorty after this WPIX came back from a commercial break with a "Breaking News” alert and informed viewers that PIX11 reporter Jay Dow was en-route to the scene. As time quickly passed WABC broke into their regular Monday night programing around 10:25 EST with Bill Ritter anchoring from the anchor desk. Eyewitness News reporter Josh Einiger was on scene. As coverage continued on WABC reporter Carolina Leid was also on scene interviewing Eyewitness’s. Soon after that WABC had extensive technical problems establishing audio and video connections with reporters on scene so at 10:41 EST they returned to regular programing. Minutes later as WNYW and WPIX continued their coverage around 10:50 EST WNBC broke into their regularly scheduled programming with special coverage of the mall shooting. Ground reports on WNBC came from reporter Ida Siegal along with arial coverage from Dennis Protsko in Chopper4. As we came upon 11:00 PM EST WCBS began their coverage with their 11:00PM newscast, WNBC, WNYW, and WPIX continued their ongoing coverage, and WABC re-joined with their edition of Eyewitness News at 11. WCBSs late breaking coverage included reports from CBS2 reporters Tracee Carrasco, Dave Carlin, and Jessica Schneider. Arial pictures form Joe Biermann in Chopper2HD. The newscast also included an analysis of the situation from CBSNews correspondent John Miller who joined Maurice and Kristine at the anchor desk in Studio46. Over on WNYW as coverage continued ground reports came from Linda Schmidt and Joe Waldman. Bill Ritter and Sandra Bookman anchored Eyewitness News at 11 which included reports from Josh Einiger, Carolina Leid, Lucy Yang, and Jim Dolan. Bill Ritter mentioned earlier in the coverage that NewsCopter7 was en-route to the scene, but no arial reports were given on WABC as the chopper only arrived as they signed off at 11:35PM EST. At the same time as WABCs sign off WCBS and WNBC also signed off to go forward with their normally scheduled network programming. With this WNYW and WPIX were the only two stations left on air, both of which were on long after their scheduled sign-off times. As developments slowed down WNYW wrapped up their coverage with a final report from Joel Waldman live at the mall in Paramus. Steve Lacy and Dari Alexander officially signed off at 11:42 PM EST. Leaving WPIX to take on viewers who wanted to watch live coverage for developments. Tamsen Fadal and Scott Stanford continued their live coverage through midnight with live reports from Jay Dow and Ann Mercogliano. WPIX held out their coverage as they were awaiting a press conference from officials, but as 1:00 AM EST approached Tamsen and Scott signed off after three full hours of coverage. As of 2:00AM EST developments were ongoing, the suspect is still at large, reporters are still awaiting a press conference outside the mall in Paramus, and reports stated that a residence in Teaneck NJ had been raided in connection with the shooting. As the morning presses on viewers can expect full coverage of the events on all stations.