Think Tank Express: “Lew’s View” is a snooze

Fox GM’s criticism of mayor does nothing for New York viewers

TV stations need leadership, not preachers 

Perhaps one of the best things about Roger Ailes’ removal from his post as chairman of Fox News (due to sexual harassment allegations) is he is no longer head of the Fox Television Stations group.

If you read this blog – and other media blogs and websites (such as Bay Area blogger Rich Liberman, whose accounts of how Fox turned the once-prestigious KTVU into a joke is a must read), then you know how badly Fox has managed its owned-and-operated stations.

With Ailes out of the picture, hopefully the idiot editorials fostered on the Fox O&Os can go with him.

In a recently-aired editorial on WNYW in New York, general manager Lew Leone blasted New York City mayor Bill DeBlasio for his work ethic, calling him a “slacker” and even gave him advice on how to better manage his schedule (watch the video above.)

This is not the first time a Fox O&O GM has taken on a big-city mayor – last December, WFLD GM Dennis Walsh ripped Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel in an editorial. 

Leone -who also runs Seacucus, N.J. sister station WWOR – has been a frequent critic of DiBasio’s administration, who like all politicians these days, aren’t exactly popular. Two years ago, Leone invited the mayor to morning wake-up show Good Day New York, but declined.

As yours truly said in 2013, station managers giving editorials is a dumb idea.  Yes, station editorials were commonplace in the ’70’s and ’80’s in the Fairness Doctrine era, including in Chicago. Those editorials went away thirty years ago, as managers thought they can make better use of the time, like selling more advertising.

The stance Leone is taking is clearly hypocritical. How many WNYW executives come to work at 11 a.m.? Leone can certainly find time to give New York’s mayor advice, but yet, ratings for Fox programming are down with just one hit (Empire) in three years while WWOR often finishes behind Univision in the local ratings.

And speaking of WWOR, remember three years ago when Fox management nuked the station’s news operation to launch an TMZ-like show called Chasing Jersey

One of things yours truly hates about GMs giving station editorials is these guys seem to be more interested in running for public office than running a TV station. The pathetic ratings performances of WNYW and WWOR – and the scam Fox pulled over those in New Jersey leads yours truly to believe Lew Leone isn’t qualified to do neither.

Hey Leone, what I’m interested in is how you are promoting or marketing your station. Or how you plan to get more eyeballs to watch your newscasts and your syndicated programming. Or your thoughts on issues important to the industry such as retransmission consent or why broadcasters continue to lose audiences to cable and streaming services. Yours truly – and a lot of other people could give less than a shit what you think about global warming , education, sex, or who should start as quarterback for the New York Giants.

At a time when the television business is in crisis, the last thing the industry needs is a wanna-be politician who’s running a TV station. We already have one running for President as the GOP nominee.