Friday, January 18, 2013

Grace Lee leaving KPIX; More Murky Times at 855 Battery; Update; Headed to 'Hawaii News Now'


Grace Lee/CBS5 photo

Grace Lee, a KPIX, (CBS5), general assignment and political reporter is leaving the station and has taken a position back in Hawaii at an undisclosed Honolulu station, according to a reliable station source. Friday is her last day at 855 Battery. (Here's Lee's new destination) .

When Lee was hired at CBS5, she believed she was promised an anchor job, according to the source, who spoke on condition of anonymity due to the nature of the story.  Lee co-anchored the morning show for a time and was then made the station's political reporter.

Although she has a master's degree in international affairs and is well-liked and respected by many, if not all, on the staff, management blocked her from anchoring because of what was claimed to be a decision by CBS O&O executives in New York. Some in the newsroom suspect the company was looking for a "minority" other than an Asian female.

BACK STORY

*It has been an altogether disappointing start for CBS5's new GM, Bruno Cohen, with prospects for improvement on an unrelenting slide downhill. Newsroom staff had been hoping for a purge of an undeniably bloated mid-management bureaucracy. Reporters, writers and producers dread coming to work, not knowing who they must answer to or why. Worse, they may tumble into the loopy gravity of one or two of the managers who have so little comprehension that any information the managers are given causes their eyes to cross and becomes scrambled or forgotten almost immediately. Cohen, however, doubled down in a recent meeting and essentially told staffers that poor ratings were their own fault. Only the most Pollyanna-ish among them still believe Cohen has a plan to fix the glaringly obvious waste of money on executive salaries and expensive, inoperative and incompatible equipment.


*Rich Lieberman 415 Media Exclusive

*Follow me on Twitter


45 comments:

  1. I liked Grace Lee when she first came to KPIX. But, then her true self began to emerge. She was a snotty uptight person, who thinks she is "Miss It". Just watch her during any of her reports/newscasts, and you will see what I mean. What I am MORE worried about now, is WHAT HAS HAPPENED TO CATE CAUGUIRAN???

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    1. It must be "opposite day". I find Grace excellent, professional, capable and worthy of an anchor position. Meanwhile, I'd be perfectly fine with Cate going to the unwatchable Ch4...forever.

      Regarding the shot callers looking for a non asian anchor, Ch5 has been there and done that(poorly). Save that mentality for picking puppies. This viewer wants "good", spare us the saccharin sweetened or botox addicted type that that attempts to come off as the best friend of her colleagues.

      Juliette, Ann easily deserve the position but it sounds like light skin color is a liability these days.

      I also doubt Julie Watts will tolerate being relegated to consumer affairs for long, she'd be fantastic prime time anchor. I get the impression that she develops/produces her segments and offers some worthwhile take aways and counter strategies for the segment issues rather than "monsters under the bed" sound bites or judgemental smirks and hmmm's.

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    2. @Anonymous wrote: "I also doubt Julie Watts will tolerate being relegated to consumer affairs for long, she'd be fantastic prime time anchor. I get the impression that she develops/produces her segments and offers some worthwhile take aways and counter strategies for the segment issues rather than "monsters under the bed" sound bites or judgemental smirks and hmmm's."

      MY RESPONSE: Yeah... and that very way of hers, amounting to her inability to just report it, and not also editorialize about it, is, I believe, what got her kicked out of anchoring. And though whatever narcissism I may have isn't sufficient to allow me to believe that I actually had anything to do with it, I certainly hope I did. Read on...

      Julie Watts started-out doing some anchoring at Channel 5; but she lost me and my support fairly early on when she betrayed her Right-winged, Republican sensibilities by looking into the camera and reporting the General McChrystal story as that he was fired. He was not. He went into his meeting with President Obama knowing that what he did required him to offer his resignation; and, so, when he did, Obama accepted it...

      ...as was appropriate. The McChrystal incident was shameful; the S.O.B. should have been fired, and then shot, too, as far as I'm concerned. (Not literally, of course; but you get my point.)

      And, yes, of course I realize that to Republicans his resignation, under the circumstances, amounted to pretty much that: a firing. However, far more than just technically, that's not, bygod, what it was; and so Watts's reporting of it as a firing betrayed her Right-winged sensibilities, which is something that no hard-news reporter -- at least while s/he's so doing -- should ever do. Ever! No matter what.

      Worse, though, said sensibilities actually caused her to... well... I suppose a Republican might characterize it as mere "editorializing", but anyone who's been to J-school would agree that what she did by calling it a firing, and not a resignation, was an out-and-out egregious mis-reporting the facts; and because it was contentious, said misreporting did not amount to mere mistake (especially because Watts, me and God all knew that it was intentional), but, rather, it was pivotal and profoundly consequential to the viewer's understanding of what said viewers had the absolute right to assume were the hard news FACTS of the story, in a manner which had considerable actual impact, part of which was editorially opinionated.

      It was just so, so out of line that I fired-off a scathing email to anyone and everyone who could possibly care about it, all the way to CBS in New York. And, whether or not because of it, I don't recall seeing Watts anchoring thereafter; and she was, then reassigned to the consumer affairs desk...

      ...where I don't like her very much, either. She needs to go back and re-take her J-school ethics courses, and also develop some damned integrity, for godsake. Either that, or she needs to go to work for the FOX NEWS CHANNEL where her inability to report it straight will not only be appreciated, but rewarded. What she did was no small thing. It was a profound betrayal of viewer trust, and among the worst things that a hard news reporter could ever do.

      [sigh] Channel 5 gets rid of good reporters, whom the viewers reall do trust; but then keeps good-for-nothing ones, like Watts. Go figure.

      Gregg L. DesElms
      Napa, California USA
      gregg at greggdeselms dot com

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  2. She was a solid reporter and a good anchor. She will do well in Hawaii.

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  3. Not surprised but sorry to hear this. I worked at KPIX for a little while last year, and Grace was very nice to me, unlike some of the other air staff who can't be bothered with people who aren't on their "level", whatever that means.

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  4. Well, I say 'good riddance'. She's one of about five who should be given the axe (The LA anchorette, Chirpy Doc, the consumer affairs woman who can't seem to solve a case, random-emphasis Notarangelo and this one, gravel-gertie).

    Don't get me wrong, I love KPIX and have for decades.

    Yesterday morning I got a pleasant surprise viewing their morning news for the first time. What an across-the-board pleasant group of folks -that whole team should be transplanted to the evening news and all of us would be better off.

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    1. "Chirpy Doc"! I think I like that.

      I've often wondered if she chirps and squirms when she's seeing patients.

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  5. If she had bigger breasts,she would still be an anchor. Or blond. Other then that,she was no worse or better. Greico and Cooke arent exactly silver spoons or standup comics.
    If it was up to me Karna Small would still have a job. Why change what works?
    S

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    1. Back in the day we called her Karna Knowledge.

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  6. I thought Grace Lee did a fine job anchoring in the mornings. I'm not surprised she's leaving -- if she was promised the morning anchor job and then gets thrown out in to the field to report she might as well relocate to a market where she can do the job she wants. Good luck to her!

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  7. Well that was quick...

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  8. Rich,
    Grace will be returning to the top-rated Sunrise morning show on Hawaii News Now (the NBC, CBS affliates as well as an independent station) and we are thrilled to have her back.
    Aloha,
    Mark Platte
    News Director
    Hawaii News Now

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    Replies
    1. I'm so excited to have Grace AND Sunny back, I like them both so much. They should do a Sunny cam every day as it puts a big smile on my face and helps start my day off on a pleasant note.

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  9. OK--I guess. Goodbye. I have no idea who she is. Should I?

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  10. In just two short years, a jump from co-hosting "Sunrise on KMGB-9" helping to propel it to #1 in the morning ratings slot in DMA #72 to a reporter post on a CBS O&O in DMA #6 and back again.

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  11. Is it better to be a big fish in a small pond (Honolulu) than a small fish in a big pond (San Francisco)? Looks like she'll get a warm welcome on her return despite failing to make a big splash here. Grace Lee has made her decision.

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    1. @Anonymous wrote: "Is it better to be a big fish in a small pond (Honolulu) than a small fish in a big pond (San Francisco)?"

      MY RESPONSE: A "big pond?" San Francisco? Are you KIDDIN' me? You should live, and watch the news, in Chicago or New York, which really ARE the nation's "big ponds" when it comes to local TV news.

      [sheesh!] San Francisco. Big pond. Ha! Gimmee a break.

      Gregg L. DesElms
      Napa, California USA
      gregg at greggdeselms dot com

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  12. Quick... Before she departs from SFO ... Get her on your program so you can ingratiate yourself and make a pass at her. What have you got to lose if she's heading back to the islands anyway?

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  13. Mark, you are indeed fortunate to have her back at your shop. Congratulations. She was a delight to work with at PIX. Exceptionally smart, kind, funny, solidly professional and great on the air. This is another unfortunate loss for a station that has truly lost its way.

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  14. An attractive, well-educated and poised Asian woman breaking into the Bay Area TV market? I'm not holding my breath waiting for it to happen. Maybe someday.

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    1. We have been there, and done that...Do you remember Wendy Tokuda, she was a wonderful on-air Anchor Personality.

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    2. 10:56, I took the 1:07 post as sarcasm. Perhaps my dry sense of humor has clouded my judgement and needs to be moisturized.

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    3. How about Jan Yanehiro? (Forgive them, Wendy and Jan, they know not what they watch)

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    4. Emerald Yea and Sydney Kohara. And crazy,crazy, big haired whats her name who used to be on ch7. And KNTV's Lisa Kim, KGO's Sasha Foo, and Janelle Wang. Kristen Ze is still going strong on 7.
      The bay area loves its Asian woman.

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    5. Betty Ann Bruno!
      S

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  15. Attractive Asian women are 'demographic dynamite' in TV reporter/anchor roles.

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  16. Grace Lee's Bay Area Timeline
    November 2010 | Leaving Honolulu for San Francisco.
    January 2013 | Returning to Honolulu.

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    1. Gawd, she "JUST" got here!

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  17. She's a Korean hottie. Hawaii, 1; Bay Area, 0.

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  18. She loves tater tots! Who is Grace Lee?

    Check out this video clip of Grace, starting with her childhood growing up in Alabama, posted by Honolulu's KGMB-9 on YouTube. An accident-prone child, junior high cheerleader and soccer player in high school. Went to UCLA and then on to George Washington University earning a master's degree in international relations. Started as an intern at KNBC-4 in Los Angeles, then on to KCRA-3 in Sacramento, before starting at KGMB-9 in Honolulu.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_HaLZSkJNls

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  19. Here's the sexy, smart and talented Grace Lee in a cheesy promo previewing KGMB-9's "Sunrise" from 2007.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xDuhhO8Xxhs

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  20. Rich: Is your radio program a "conduit to the blog" or the other way around? It's getting really blurry for many of us.

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  21. Don't have a clue who she is. Not that it matters.

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  22. Have you started "hitting" on her yet? Will she be appearing on "Lieberman Live?"

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  23. She should hire David Axelrod who can start a "War on small-breasted dark-haired Asian women" campaign.

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    1. Yes,ironic that the Hawaiian News favors Asian woman with Caucasian like very light skin and thin nose. Only the eye's say Asian.
      I bet..she uses a umbrella in the Hawaiian sun so as to "not get dark"

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    2. 2:11....My God! How racist can you be? Disgusting. Rich, there ARE some comments that deserve deletion. Yuck.

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  24. Grace Lee may be a great Anchor, but when she was on the Morning show on KPIX, I found that she, and her Male Co-Anchor giggled, & laughed it up far, far too much for me....Just saying...

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  25. Anyone who's ever worked in the business knows there's much more to anchoring than reading off a tele-Prompter. Almost anyone can be taught to read well. But it's the intangibles that make a good anchor. Small things the viewer may not see because the anchor knows how the handle the situation when the video doesn't roll, or the audio doesn't come in when it should or your co-anchor hesitates on a read. Sadly GM's and News Directors don't often notice these things because there's nothing to see. A talented anchor covers mistakes. But I guarantee her producers, directors and co-anchors know this about her. Shes is smart, educated an excellent writer, and reporter and an all around great talent. KPIX's loss is HNL's gain. Welcome home Grace. Adios SFO ...

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  26. I thought she was given the boot because of low ratings? Funny how things went south when Frank "the Bore" Millecoat joined on. Her and Frank were not a good pair. just as it is with Michelle Greago.

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  27. Grace is just excellent on her job. It may be because of her master's degree in international relations I presume.

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  28. I too was an employee at KPIX for a time back when John & Sydnie graced the anchor chairs. I cam back at the end of 2012 & Grace was a very very nice person. Michelle was very nice as well. But I never did fully understand why Grace was let go. She was professional & did the job asked of her. I have yet to come across any bad or mean reporters there. But the carousel of talent there & the lack of overall disinterest among the staff is the real reason for the downfall. No one knows how to make that next move to enhance their careers since they choose to work with 3rd party media companies & contract employees to avoid spending on benefits. I hope the friends I still have there are safe.

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  29. I watch her show in the Morning, and I have noticed that she at times wears very provocative attire one blouse button away from major cleavage....or bending over just at the right angles for all sorts of provocative sights like this morning or nice shorter dresses w/ nice glimpses of her upper inner thighs , IMO she has nice breast and everything else, BTW she is not a bad new person.....as some others

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