WUSA Hires New Anchor to Join McGinty

By John Maynard
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, October 13, 2007

Anita Brikman will leave Philadelphia's top-rated TV station to become co-anchor of WUSA's 5 and 7 p.m. newscasts beginning in January, the Washington station announced yesterday.

Brikman, a medical reporter at ABC affiliate WPVI since 1994, will co-anchor the newscasts with Derek McGinty and will head the station's new consumer unit, which is scheduled to begin early next year.

Brikman replaces Tracey Neale at 5 p.m.; Neale will continue to co-anchor the 6 and 11 p.m. newscasts with Todd McDermott.

Brikman said by phone yesterday that the new position at Channel 9 will be an opportunity "to be part of my own show, and to be working in a newsroom where I'll still also have a beat that I'm covering."

Neale, who returned this week from a two-month leave, has been co-anchoring the 5 p.m. newscast with McGinty since April 2006. WUSA News Director Mike Ward said yesterday that having Neale co-anchor both the 5 and 6 p.m. shows was "not an ideal situation."

As for the 7 p.m. newscast, Ward said it "just makes sense" to team Brikman with McGinty, who's been solo-anchoring that program since its launch in 2003. "It broadens the diversity appeal of the show, male and female, and it's always pleasant to have someone to react off of, or play off of, on a show like that."

WUSA also announced that Angie Goff, formerly with WIS in Columbia, S.C., will be the station's new traffic reporter.

Brikman will anchor two newscasts that consistently finish last in the local ratings. In the September ratings period, WUSA's 5 p.m. newscast averaged 32,000 viewers, behind three others newscasts and the syndicated "Judge Mathis" show. WUSA's 7 p.m. newscast was fourth in the time slot, behind "NBC Nightly News" on WRC, WJLA's "Wheel of Fortune" and WTTG's "The Simpsons."

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