Channel 4 cuts sports veteran Berman
Len Berman, a New York television sports fixture
since 1979, including for the past nearly quarter century at WNBC-TV, will
leave the station sometime in the next 30 to 60 days.
The station and Berman, 61, had been discussing for months a settlement of
his contract - believed to be the most lucrative among his anchor peers with an
annual salary one TV industry source estimated at $1 million.
Berman suggested last night he was relieved to be done with the nightly
grind and looking forward to a new phase in his career.
"This was something we have been talking about for a long time, and I think
it benefits both of us," he said. "I've been sitting at that desk for 23
years, every night. It's unbelievable ... I feel I have other talents besides
just reading sports news. And my wife [Jill] is jumping up and down."
The departure of Berman is the latest in a wave that has reshaped local TV
news, sweeping out many high-profile, high-priced personalities in an era of
Sports departments have been a frequent target, with the time devoted to
reports dwindling and many avid fans more apt to get their news from ESPN or
"The face of local news has changed, and sports has become less and less
valuable in a way in local news," Berman's agent, Sandy Montag, said.
Sal Marciano, a New York sports news veteran of 40 years, left Channel 11
at the end of last year and Channel 2 parted ways with its lead anchor, Ducis
Recently, Russ Salzberg has been doing the late sports reports for both
Channels 5 and 9.
Berman's departure will leave only Bruce Beck as a sports anchor at Channel
4, where on one recent night news co-anchor Sue Simmons delivered the sports
Berman, who lives in Port Washington, took over from Marv Albert on the 6
o'clock news in 1986 and the 11 o'clock edition in 1987.
He was known for "Spanning the World," in which he showed highlights from
the "wild and wacky" world of sports. He said that feature might live on in
Berman has a Web site, has written a third children's book due this fall
and is "open" to new projects.
"I work with some very special people on the air in Chuck [Scarborough] and
Sue and Janice [Huff]," he said. "Everything has changed off the air. It's a
different world. But there is no rancor. Both sides are happy. They're happy.
HOMETOWN: Long Island City
HIGH SCHOOL: Stuyvesant
RESIDES: Port Washington
1970-73: WLWD-TV, Dayton
1973-78: WBZ-TV, Boston
1979-82: WCBS-TV, New York
1982-84: NBC Network, including NFL pregame show
1985-2009: WNBC-TV, New York
AWARDS: Eight local Emmy Awards, six-time New York Sportscaster of the Year
ANCHOR START: Took over Channel 4's 6 o'clock sports from Marv Albert in
1986, and the 11 o'clock edition in 1987.
OTHER RECENT DEPARTURES AT WNBC-TV: Otis Livingston, Jay DeDapper, Carolyn
Gusoff, Monica Morales