Channel 9 Parting Ways With Anchorman Todd McDermott

Friday, September 12, 2008

WUSA-TV shook up its evening anchor lineup again yesterday, declining to renew anchorman Todd McDermott's contract.

The station, which has struggled for several years in the local news ratings, dropped McDermott after four years of trying to build its newscasts around him and co-anchor Tracey Neale, who left the station at the end of last year.

McDermott was hired from New York's CBS affiliate in 2004 to replace 35-year Channel 9 veteran Gordon Peterson, who shortly thereafter moved to WJLA, Channel 7. McDermott teamed with Neale at 6 and 11 p.m. and has co-anchored with Neale's replacement, Lesli Foster, since January.

McDermott signed off after the 11 p.m. broadcast Wednesday and did not return to the air yesterday. His departure wasn't mentioned in an e-mail from the station's management to its news staff that detailed WUSA's new anchor lineup. McDermott couldn't be reached yesterday for comment.

The station said Foster will remain as anchor at 6 p.m., handling the job solo. The 11 p.m. newscast will get an all-new anchor team: Anita Brikman and Derek McGinty.

McGinty will continue to anchor at 7 p.m., but Brikman, his co-anchor, will move over to 5 p.m., teaming with Foster.

The 5 p.m. pairing will enable WUSA to feature Brikman's "Living Well" health segments and Foster's "Living Smart" consumer segments, said Allan Horlick, Channel 9's president and general manager of the CBS affiliate.

-- Paul Farhi

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