WABC-TV: Channel 7 Eyewitness News
Debut: October 26, 1959

WABC-TV in New York presently broadcasts 43 hours and 55 minutes of locally produced newscasts each week. On October 26, 1959, the station launched Report to New York, as the first regular news program, with Scott Vincent w/news, Howard Cosell w/sports, and Lynn Dollar w/weather. The program airs Monday through Friday at 11 p.m. By October 1961, the program was expanded with a 15-minute early edition at 6:15 p.m. on weeknights, and on Saturday and Sunday evenings. On October 22, 1962, the station expanded its weeknight news to 45-minutes, and retitled it "The Big News", with newscomers Bill Beutel and Jim Burnes as anchors, with Howard Cosell doing sports, and Rosemary Haley providing the weather. In early 1968, the news program was retitled as: "Roger Grimsby and the Noisemakers", but the format didn't help the ratings, which plunged to an all-time low. On November 11, 1968, newly hired news director at WABC-TV, Al Primo came with an idea and adopted the format entitled: "Eyewitness News", which was debut at the time. Then a year later, the station had shot to first place for the first time in its history, displacing longtime leader: WCBS-TV. In April 1969, Grimsby replaced John Schubeck by anchoring the 6 p.m. weeknight newscast, and also continued anchoring the 11 p.m. weeknight newscast. Also in 1969, Tom Dunn joined the station to become Grimsby's co-anchor on the 6 p.m. weeknight newscast. In September 1970, Bill Beutel returned to WABC-TV, this time replacing Dunn as Grimsby's co-anchor on the 6 p.m. weeknight newscast. Both Grimsby and Beutel would anchor the 6 p.m. weeknight news together on and off for the next 15 and ½ years. In 1972, John Johnson joined the station, becoming one of the first African-American reporters in New York television news history. In March 1976, Storm Field joined the station, and in his first appearance when he was covering Hurricane Belle, and later working when Tex Antonie was illed. So Field did the weekend weather broadcasts as well as the 11 p.m. weeknight broadcast. And finally, on November 29, 1976, Field became the permanent forecaster on the 6 p.m. and 11 p.m. weeknight broadcasts, replacing Antonie who was suspended and dismissed from the station at the time. In late Spring 1978, Ernie Anastos (who would go on to become one of the all-time anchors in New York television news history) joined the station as a report and substitute anchor. Also in 1978, Rose Ann Scamardella became reporter and later anchor for Eyewitness News. A year later in 1979, Anastos began anchor the 11 p.m. weeknight newscast with Scamardella. In 1981, Kaity Tong joined the station, becoming the first Asian-American journalist in New York television news history. On November 30, 1981, WABC-TV become only the second in the city to expand its late afternoon/early evening newscasts by adding a 5 p.m. weekday newscast, with Rose Ann Scamardella and Storm Field as anchors. In 1982, they were both replaced by Tom Snyder (who joined WABC-TV that year) and Kaity Tong, and Snyder & Tong would anchor that newscast for the next 2 years. And then, Field became forecaster for that newscast (while continued doing the weather on the 6PM & 11PM weeknight newscasts). Ira Joe Fisher joined the weather team of WABC-TV in 1983, to replace Storm Field to do the weather for just the 5PM weekday newscast before Fisher left in 1985, and then Field was reassigned to do the weather for the 5PM weekday newscast. In late 1984, Ernie Anastos became Tong's co-anchoring partner for the 5PM weekday nightcast. In February 1985, Tim Fleischer joined the Eyewitness News team as a reporter, and he would go on to became one of the longest-tenured reporters in New York television news history. Also in 1985, WABC-TV lured Bill Applegate from WLS-TV in Chicago (where he claimed credit to taking that from last place to first place), by becoming the news director at WABC-TV in New York, he would do the same magic. In February 1986, Roz Abrams joined WABC-TV, succeeding Kaity Tong as Anastos' co-anchor partner for the 5PM weekday newscast, while Tong continued to co-anchor the 11PM weeknight newscast with him. In the wake of the ratings decline, Roger Grimsby was fired on April 16, 1986, and was interim replaced by Kaity Tong, and later in 1986, she was replaced by John Johnson as Bill Beutel's co-anchoring partner for the 6PM weeknight newscast. Also in 1986, Jim Dolan joined the team as a reporter (whom still on the air today). In 1987, Eyewitness News surged back into first place, and it has been the ratings leader in New York television news ever since (including WABC-TV). In the late 1980s, WABC-TV added a weekday morning newscast. In Spring 1989, Ernie Anastos left Eyewitness News & WABC-TV, and Bill Beutel was Anastos' replacement for the 11PM weeknight newscast (whom he returns) by originally paired with Kaity Tong, and then John Marler brought to WABC-TV as Anastos' replacement for the 5PM weeknight newscast, pairing with Roz Abrams, but not for long. In late 1989, Greg Hurst came to WABC-TV and permanently became Abrams' co-anchoring partner for the 5PM weeknight newscast. In the 1990s & 2000s, WABC-TV's news department was still held onto first place. Also in 1990, the station's renamed for the weather forecast team: the AccuWeather forecast team (which remains ever since). In 1991, when Tong left the team after the 11PM weeknight newscast, Susan Roesgen became Bill Beutel's co-anchor for just one year. Also in 1991, Diana Williams joined the team as reporter and later anchor. Then in 1992, Williams began paired with Beutel on the 11PM weeknight newscast which would remain for 7 years. In June 1998, Bill Ritter and Sandra Bookman both joined the team as weekend evening anchors and weekday reporters. Then in October 1999, Ritter became Diana Williams' co-anchoring partner on the 11PM weeknight newscast, succeeding Bill Beutel (who left that time to continue solo anchor the 6PM weeknight newscast). And then, Williams later became Bill Beutel's first co-anchoring partner on the 6PM weeknight newscast since the firing of Roger Grimsby (whom he died on June 23, 1995). In late Summer 1999, WABC-TV rebranded its newscasts as 'ABC 7 Eyewitness News', before rebranding again as 'Channel 7 Eyewitness News' in 2004 (which has been even since). On December 2, 2006, WABC-TV became the second station in the New York City market to broadcast local newscasts in high definition. On September 4, 2010, the station added an hour-long extension of its Saturday morning newscast from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. 3 days later, on September 7, 2010, WABC-TV expanded its weekday morning newscasts, moving its start time to 4:30 a.m. On May 26, 2011, WABC-TV added another hour by launching a 4 p.m. weekday newscast. On September 24, 2011, the station began broadcasting its newscasts and public affairs programs from a new street-level window studio at a former Disney Store location in the ABC building on 66th Street and Columbus Avenue. In January 2012, the station expanded its 11 p.m. weekend newscasts to an hour. On September 8, 2014, the station expanded its noon weekday newscasts to an hour. On July 31, 2020, after 35 years with Eyewitness News as a reporter, Tim Fleischer retired.

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