In a surprise shake-up that stunned the Los Angeles television market, KABC-TV (Channel 7) President and General Manager Terry Crofoot resigned suddenly Tuesday, leaving the top-ranked station in the awkward position of not having an executive at the helm.
Crofoot, who reportedly had clashes with ABC Television Stations President Larry Pollock, did not offer any explanation for his departure other than to say it was by "mutual decision."
Crofoot was named general manager in 1988 after serving as the station's news director for more than seven years.
Crofoot, while credited with helping the ABC-owned station's "Eyewitness News" maintain its top ranking in one of the nation's most competitive TV markets, nonetheless had repeated differences with Pollock, industry sources said.
Most recent, they said, was Crofoot's disagreement over the departure of anchorman Paul Moyer, whom rival KNBC-TV (Channel 4) hired away last year with an eight-year, $6-million contract. Crofoot is said to have fought to keep Moyer at KABC but was overruled by Pollock.
Crofoot's departure is all the more unusual because KABC is one of the top-billing TV stations in the country, with an estimated 18% of the market's $1 billion in ad revenue.
In an interview, Crofoot said he wanted to "return to my first love--news," but added that he probably will not be working at KABC or at the ABC network.
The 16-year KABC veteran said he will announce his plans in about a week. He declined to elaborate.
Capital Cities/ABC officials said they would scout for a new general manager immediately. They could not be reached for further comment Tuesday.
Crofoot's resignation is the latest shake-up at a Los Angeles TV station. Earlier this summer, controversial KCBS-TV (Channel 2) News Director John Lippman was ousted after a brief but contentious reign in charge of the "Action News" format. As part of Lippman's ouster, KCBS General Manager Steve Gigliotti was bumped down to station manager and replaced by Bill Applegate, a CBS network executive from New York.
Pollock, in a memo to station personnel, credited Crofoot with helping KABC keep its No. 1 status.
"His decision to add the top-rated syndicated program 'Live with Regis and Kathie Lee' and to introduce an 11:30 a.m. edition of 'Eyewitness News' have both contributed to the station's growing morning audience," the statement said.