WFXT Fox 25 in Boston has been without longtime Anchor Maria Stephanos for only a few days and the station already appears to be taking a hit in the ratings.
The station’s 10 p.m. newscast, long the front-runner in Boston TV’s 10 p.m. news war, got beat Monday and Tuesday without Stephanos at the helm, losing in the critical 25- to 54-year-old demographic to rival WHDH snewscast on WLVI.
Stephanos anchored Fox 25’s news for the last time Friday night in an emotional farewell after an 18-year run at the station. Her last 10 p.m. newscast was the winner, drawing a 1.5 rating. WLVI had a 0.8 and WSBK had a 0.4 rating.
“People build loyalty to anchors. Even though there’s this movement towards the faceless newscast with all kinds of bells and whistles, people still want to feel like whoever is giving them the news is verifiable and familiar,” said Boston University journalism professor Susan Walker, who worked in local TV news for more than 25 years.
“You lose a major anchor, a familiar face, and you’re going to see a blip,” Walker said.
Fox 25 Vice President and General Manager Tom Raponi, in a statement, said the station performed well Tuesday without Stephanos at 6 and 11 p.m., but of the weaker showing at 10, an hour long dominated by Fox 25, he said, “Ratings are measured in monthly periods for a reason ... to just take ratings from a day or two does not give an accurate picture.”
Fox 25 hasn’t announced Stephanos’ replacement. Elizabeth Hopkins has been filling in.
H/T Boston Herald