Here is what led KTLA to fireplace ex-anchor Mark Mester after per week of drama

KTLA-TV Channel 5, whose broadcasts of native information for many years have been a necessary a part of every day life for many Los Angeles viewers, grew to become the information this previous week, after the departure of one in all its high-profile information anchors, Lynette Romero, and the firing of another, Mark Mester.

The shakeup marks a tumultuous second for KTLA, a station that values longevity and earlier this yr celebrated its seventy fifth anniversary. It has thrown the station’s well-liked “Weekend Morning Information” present into flux.

The abrupt departures have shocked many inside the station, and the drama has reverberated all through Southern California as a deluge of devoted viewers have criticized KTLA’s dealing with of Romero’s departure and Mester’s termination. Some viewers are saying they’ll no longer tune in.

“I feel it clearly affected us in a really unfavourable method, and that belief must be regained over a few years,” mentioned a station supply who spoke to The Instances on situation of anonymity. “It’s not gonna be regained in a day, in per week, or in a month.”

Whereas the way forward for KTLA’s “Weekend Morning” present and its standing with the group is unsure, here’s a transient timeline of the occasions of the previous week.

Sept. 14 — KTLA proclaims Lynette Romero’s exit

In a information broadcast on the finish of its 10 a.m. present, the newsroom’s director Pete Saiers handed leisure reporter Sam Rubin a script saying the departure of Lynette Romero.

“After almost 24 years, Lynette Romero, our buddy Lynette, has determined to maneuver on from anchoring our weekend morning information,” Rubin mentioned on air after a photograph of Romero flashed onto the display.

“KTLA administration had hoped she would keep right here her complete profession, and KTLA labored onerous to make that occur,” Rubin added. “However Lynette has determined to maneuver to a different alternative elsewhere. Lynette, we want you luck, we miss you and we thanks for the whole lot you’ve finished for KTLA. … On behalf of everybody right here, we want you and your loved ones nothing however the perfect.”

Station administration had been in negotiations with Romero over the previous a number of weeks. Romero now not needed to work weekends and had requested administration to permit her to work a weekday anchor shift so she may spend extra time along with her household, however she was informed there have been no openings, in line with station sources who requested to stay nameless. Sources say she reportedly has been employed at KNBC-TV, L.A.’s NBC affiliate, as one in all its weekday morning present anchors.

Reward and backlash from viewers

With KTLA’s “Weekend Morning” present among the many hottest native weekend packages on TV, Romero’s departure despatched shockwaves among the many present’s loyal viewers. An outpouring of reward for Romero unfold on-line, celebrating her storied profession at KTLA that included profitable six native Emmy Awards, with one in all them recognizing her reporting on Latinos in L.A.

However her departure additionally drew intense criticism of the station.

Many questioned the station’s resolution to not permit Romero to say her own goodbye on air. KTLA had already lost favor with some viewers when information anchor Dayna Devon left the “Morning” program for a special present. Romero’s departure was the tipping level for some viewers.

“Dayna AND Lynette gone now?” commented one user on Twitter. “No want for me to observe anymore.”

Administration presents a recorded goodbye

Someday after the Sept. 14 announcement, newsroom and station managers at KTLA provided to ship a digital camera to Romero’s home to document her goodbye, which might have been aired on a later day. Romero rejected the proposal. A number of station sources mentioned her future employer KNBC had discouraged her from doing so.

Romero stored a low profile on social media since her KTLA exit, however she addressed followers Sept. 14.

“I’ll at all times be glad about the love and affection LA viewers have given me,” she tweeted. “Keep tuned my pals I’ll be proper again.”

Sept. 17 — Mark Mester goes off script

Producers had spent the final a number of days gathering a montage of Romero’s work and a script for fellow “Weekend Morning Present” anchor Mark Mester to learn throughout a farewell section.

Mester, who had alerted his followers on social media that he was planning to handle Romero’s departure on that morning’s present, had different plans.

He employed a airplane with a banner to fly over the station with the message “We love you Lynette!” Mester had pitched producers to incorporate footage of the airplane within the section however was rejected.

On the prime of the 8 a.m. present, Mester ignored the script and launched into an emotional speech, criticizing the station’s dealing with of Romero’s exit and apologizing to viewers on behalf of the station. “What viewers skilled was impolite, it was merciless, it was inappropriate, and we’re so sorry,” Mester mentioned of the Sept. 14 announcement.

Mester additionally flashed a photograph of the station’s normal supervisor, Janene Drafs and talked about her function in Romero’s departure. Neither motion was authorised by producers.

He then apologized to Romero, whom he referred to as his “best friend.”

“You didn’t deserve this, we’re sorry, it was a mistake, and we simply hope you’ll find it in your coronary heart to forgive us,” Mester mentioned, his voice cracking at instances. With three colleagues alongside him, Mester’s monologue lasted greater than 4 minutes.

Sept. 17 — Outburst within the newsroom

Instantly after the present as Mester stepped off set, station administration referred to as him into their workplace for a gathering, which he refused. An assistant information director was pressured to interrupt the information of his suspension over voicemail. At one level, a number of staffers recalled Mester telling one of many information administrators to “shut up” and refusing to depart the constructing after being requested to take action.

In the course of the trade with administration, Mester allegedly yelled obscenities that may very well be heard by different staffers within the newsroom.

A number of sources on the station mentioned it was frequent data that staffers have been involved about Mester’s mood and what was described as his “disrespectful” conduct to ladies and had complained to administration.

Sept. 19 — Information breaks of Mester’s suspension

Trade commerce publication Deadline reported Mester’s suspension. Though KTLA and its Nexstar Media Group possession refused to touch upon the suspension, media shops and the KTLA viewers instantly started to attract the road between Romero’s abrupt exit, Mester’s impassioned speech and his suspension.

The suspension spurred additional vitriol towards the station and reward for Mester, whom viewers noticed as advocating for Romero.

Nevertheless, within the newsroom, many staffers started to name for Mester’s firing, saying that he had betrayed their belief.

Sept. 22 — KTLA proclaims Mester’s firing

Sooner or later earlier, on Sept. 21, newsroom staffers noticed Mester assembly with administration. The subsequent day, round 1 p.m., the station’s normal supervisor, Drafs referred to as station staff collectively for a gathering the place she introduced Mester’s firing.

“[Mester] is now not at KTLA5,” she mentioned. Workers got directions to not converse with the media.

Mester has not responded to requests for remark and has remained silent on social media since his termination.

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