In a major shake-up at two local stations, Pat Harvey, one of the most prominent news anchors in Los Angeles and the most identifiable personality of KCAL's prime-time newscast, jumped Wednesday to the anchor desk at sister station KCBS.
Harvey, who helped launch KCAL's prime-time newscast two decades ago, will now anchor the 5 p.m. and 11 p.m. newscasts with Paul Magers at KCBS. His former co-anchor Laura Diaz has moved to a solo anchor slot on KCBS' 6 p.m. newscast.
KCBS weekend anchor Sharon Tay has succeeded Harvey as co-anchor of KCAL's 8 p.m. and 10 p.m. newscasts. Tay, who sparked controversy several years ago as an anchor at KTLA when she appeared in revealing layouts in men's magazines, joins Rick Garcia at the anchor desk.
Said KCBS/KCAL President and General Manager Steve Mauldin in a statement: "The moves we are making . . . will allow our best people to become even more successful while also driving ratings growth for both of our stations."
The stations, which are owned by CBS Corp. and share a space at CBS Studio Center in Studio City, came under new management last year.
Harvey was the last remaining anchor of KCAL's groundbreaking three-hour nightly newscast, which was part of a risky experiment by the station's then-owner, the Walt Disney Co. The news block marked the first time in the country that a commercial station had devoted its entire evening programming to news instead of entertainment.
The anchor revamp sparked little surprise in local news circles; rumors had been circulating for weeks about Diaz and Tay. Some had noticed that Diaz had been absent for quite a bit from the newscasts; officials said she was on vacation.
Still, reassigning Diaz to 6 p.m. raised some eyebrows. Her original hiring was trumpeted by the station and considered a major coup after she had spent almost two decades at KABC-TV's "Eyewitness News." Her arrival was hailed with a bilingual publicity campaign aimed at Latino viewers.
Although some insiders interpreted her move as a step down, executives pointed out that Diaz will be the first Latina to solo anchor a nightly newscast at a major Los Angeles station.
She also will host and help produce a series of local news and public affairs specials, they said.
In other station news, Jackie Johnson, who had been handling weather for KCAL, will jump to KCBS to report weather at 5 p.m., 6 p.m. and 11 p.m.
She replaces veteran weathercaster Johnny Mountain, who announced his retirement late last month after more than 32 years reporting weather on local stations.
Josh Rubenstein, who is the meteorologist for both KCAL and KCBS, will report on KCAL's nightly newscast until a successor for Johnson is named.