Lynette Romero lands at KNBC after tumultuous KTLA departure
After a tumultuous exit from KTLA-TV Channel 5, news anchor Lynette Romero has landed at crosstown rival KNBC-TV Channel 4.
The NBCUniversal-owned station announced Tuesday that Romero would become the new co-anchor of “Today in L.A.,” its early morning show, beginning Oct. 10. The position has been open since the departure late last year of Daniella Guzman, who moved to an NBC affiliate in her native Houston.
The Times first reported that Romero was headed to KNBC.
“This is good news .... I have a new family. I have a new home,” Romero said in a video message to fans, many of whom were outraged by her departure from KTLA, which was abruptly announced on air Sept. 14 by KTLA anchor Sam Rubin.
The station’s 37-second send-off, during its morning newscast, startled and upset Romero’s fans. Three days later, Romero’s former co-anchor, Mark Mester, gave her an emotional farewell while blasting the station’s management, alleging it mishandled the situation because Romero didn’t personally say goodbye to viewers.
Mark Mester, a co-anchor on KTLA’s popular weekend morning show, went off script over the weekend to talk about Lynette Romero’s sudden departure.
Mester was fired last week.
Romero worked at the independent KTLA for nearly 24 years.
KTLA managers are still stinging over the episode. Industrywide, stations typically downplay exits of anchors who move to a market rival out of fears of losing viewers to the competition. But KTLA spokesman Gary Weitman said this week that Romero could have said goodbye to viewers on her final telecast, but she unexpectedly asked for vacation that week.
KTLA news executives offered to send a camera crew to Romero’s house to record a goodbye video — but that offer came only after the station was facing widespread viewer backlash. Romero declined.
Her final day at KTLA was set for Sept. 18, when her contract expired.
KTLA rebuffed a request by a Southern California Latino journalists group to meet with station executives to discuss diversity.
KTLA sought to keep Romero at the Nexstar Media Group station, offering her a salary increase to match KNBC’s offer, according to sources. But she had worked weekends for eight years and wanted opportunities to anchor on weekdays, which was not in the offing.
It’s unclear when KNBC began wooing her. The tug-of-war sheds light on the high-stakes battle for top talent as TV stations compete to retain viewers in a fragmented media landscape.
“Lynette has the right combination of journalistic experience and genuine warmth that comes across on the air and in person,” said Renee Washington, KNBC’s vice president of news. “She is a dynamic anchor with an upbeat approach to help our viewers kick start their day, and I am happy to welcome her to the NBC4 family.”
Longtime anchor Lynette Romero’s abrupt exit from KTLA kicked off a hectic week that ended with the firing of her former co-anchor, Mark Mester.
The Emmy-winning Romero is a native of Colorado. Prior to moving to Los Angeles in the late 1990s, she was a reporter and anchor at a Denver station, covering the 1993 papal visit, the 1993 standoff in Waco, Texas, and the 1995 bombing of the Oklahoma City federal building. Over the years at KTLA, she anchored almost every newscast, including the late news with the late Hal Fishman.
Romero will join the anchor desk of KNBC’s 4 a.m. to 7 a.m. program, alongside co-anchor Adrian Arambulo, meteorologist Belen De Leon and traffic anchor Robin Winston.
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