Arch Campbell, Part II: Critic Joins WJLA

By John Maynard
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, January 9, 2007

During his three-decade tenure as WRC's movie critic, Arch Campbell saw plenty of sequels. Now, less than a month after the NBC station let him go, he's about to star in his own.

Campbell will join ABC affiliate WJLA (Channel 7) this week as a part-time reporter. He'll appear at least twice a week to review movies and will report on other entertainment-related stories.

"I'm hoping this sequel is 'Godfather II,' which is much better than the first one," Campbell said yesterday.

Campbell will appear regularly on the station's 5 p.m. newscast Mondays and Thursdays, said Bill Lord, WJLA's vice president of news, and also will report on some special events, such as next month's Academy Awards.

"We are open to the types of stories he wants to do," Lord said.

Campbell is the latest veteran news personality to sign with WJLA after leaving a competing station. Maureen Bunyan and Gordon Peterson, who now anchor the station's 6 p.m. news, meteorologist Doug Hill and reporter Mike Buchanan all joined WJLA after leaving WUSA (Channel 9).

"You have to look at each one of these individuals," Lord said about the veteran hires. "Each one of these individuals really are people that we want on our team. Which one would you turn down? Would you say no to a Gordon Peterson or an Arch Campbell or a Mike Buchanan?"

Campbell, 60, accepted a buyout last month from WRC, which is cutting budgets and jobs as part of parent company NBC Universal's broader belt-tightening.

"They couldn't have been nicer," Campbell said about WJLA. "They called up and said, 'If you want a home, we'll give you a home.' "

Campbell said he will start at the station Thursday and his first on-air appearance probably will be next week. "It's a good fit because they are the station that carries the Oscars," he said of the ABC affiliate. "This is the time that the drumbeat starts for the Oscar contenders, so I feel like I'm at the perfect place at the perfect time."

Although WRC remains the town's top-rated news station, Campbell said there's at least one advantage to no longer working at the NBC station. "Let's just say I'm breathing a sigh of relief that I never have to watch 'The Apprentice' again."

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