Rich Newberg is without a seat after Channel 4's decision to play musical chairs with its anchors.
In yet another attempt to challenge first-place Channel 7 News, Channel 4 News is going to use Don Postles and Carol Jasen as the anchors of three of its late afternoon and evening newscasts starting Sept. 28. WIVB-TV General Manager Lou Verruto announced the lineup changes Friday.
Postles and Jasen are dropping the noon newscast and adding the 5 and 11 p.m. newscasts to their 6 p.m. duties.
Newberg and Jacquie Walker, who had been anchoring the 5 and 11 p.m. news together for four years, are being reassigned.
Walker will be the solo noon anchor and will anchor the 5:30 p.m. portion of the news. It appears WIVB is dividing the 5-to-6:30 p.m. hours into three separate newscasts.
Dropped from the anchor rotation, Newberg has been named senior correspondent. He will file nightly reports. It is a role that Channel 2 veteran anchor Rich Kellman also is assuming once that station's new anchor, Scott Levin, comes aboard.
Walker, who has been working on the 11 p.m. news for 12 1/2 of her 15 years at the station, said she has been requesting a day shift for years so she can be at home with her boys, ages 11 and 8.
"I am personally thrilled about this move," said Walker. "It will enable me for the first time to tuck my kids in bed on a school night."
Newberg, who replaced Rick Pfeiffer on the 11 p.m. news in August of 1994 and became one of the station's primary male anchors after the late Bob Koop became ill, is believed to have fared poorly in audience research. Led by Jasen, the other three anchors did well in research, sources said.
"I'm disappointed," said Newberg. "They said they based it on research. I was disappointed in what they showed me. That I didn't test high. I always felt no matter what happened at the station, how many owners we had, there was a viewing public that appreciated me. I question the research a little bit. But, if true, I'll have to accept it and go on from there.
"I feel after 20 years and getting where I got, it was a shock to be told, 'You're going back on the street.' "
News Director Chris Musial also announced the appointment of Rick Pfeiffer as investigative reporter and said that Al Vaughters will report on "hard-edged" consumer news.
Channel 4 News has stalled and remains in second place behind Channel 7 on all of the evening newscasts. It has fared best in the early morning and at noon.