WJZ's Alexander goes to Pa. station TV: New general manager Jay Newman comes here from Detroit.

November 05, 1998|By David Zurawik | David Zurawik,SUN TELEVISION CRITIC

Marcellus Alexander, WJZ general manager and one of the leading figures in the Baltimore television industry, is leaving town to take over Philadelphia CBS station KYW-TV, CBS announced yesterday.

The move, which is effective today, will take Alexander from the 24th largest television market in the country to the fourth. He will still be working for CBS, however, as WJZ is also a CBS-owned station.

Alexander will be replaced as vice president and general manager at WJZ by Jay Newman, who comes to the station from WWJ in Detroit, the nation's ninth-largest television market.

Newman is credited with turning a weak UHF station there into a major-market operation. Prior to Detroit, Newman worked for CBS-owned stations in Miami, Chicago and Pittsburgh.

"It's bittersweet to leave the "Eyewitness News" family here in Baltimire, an area which has been home to my family for nearly 10 years," Alexander said last night. "However, going to Philadelphia will be a coming-home of sorts, as I spent a portion of my early career at KYW and so am very familiar with the station and the city. I will miss WJZ and all the friends I made in Baltimore, but I know Jay Newman is an excellent choice to lead WJZ into the new millennium."

Alexander, 46, had the longest tenure of any current general manager in Baltimore, having arrived at WJZ in 1989 after two years at KYW as station manager and acting general manager. While WJZ today is not the all-dominant Baltimore news force it was 10 years ago, that change is largely the result of restructuring both in the local and national industry.

In January 1995, after an affiliation of almost 40 years with ABC, WJZ found itself part of a three-way affiliate switch that left it paired with CBS at a time when the network was struggling.

WJZ now shares ratings leadership with WBAL, the NBC affiliate. In recent years, NBC has had a stronger prime-time product to attract viewers to its late newscasts than did CBS. During the 1990s, Alexander expanded the news products at WJZ, adding an early evening newscast with Sally Thorner in 1994. He also added a weekend morning newscast and expanded the market-leading weekday morning news program.

Alexander is on the board of trustees of the Baltimore Museum of Art and is chairman of the Maryland Citizens for the Arts. He also serves as vice chair of the Kennedy Krieger Institute board.

Pub Date: 11/05/98

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