Back in June, FTVLive told you that WNBC Weather Anchor Chris Cimino was leaving the station after more than two decades.
In a memo to the staff, WNBC Vice President of News, Amy Morris tried to make it sound like Cimino was leaving on his own to travel and explore new adventures.
But, in a blog post titled “Over 50 and Under-Employed” Cimino says that he was pushed out.
“As I walked into the office and did the protocol handshake with both my news director and general manager, I attempted a light hearted joke referring to an incident that took place a month earlier. It was pretty much met with the sound of crickets.
I really don’t believe my butt had quite made contact with the chair when the words “this is never an easy conversation” came from my GM’s mouth. To be honest, at this point I really just wished he stopped speaking and I could say “got it, thanks for everything, see ya!” I knew of course immediately this was my demise. The end of a nearly 24 year career at WNBC.”
He then added:
“In a 5 year period I survived and moved on from losing my Dad, some other friends and family, and the toughest of all, my wife of 32 years. In addition my son had a battle with cancer as well. For whatever reason, the reality of the fragility of life came at me for what seemed like an unrelenting tsunami.
This was just a job. Hearing the words “we are not renewing your contract” pales in comparison to your wife’s oncologist saying “Chris, the tests came back and there’s nothing we can do.” One thing 58 years of life has taught me is that everything is relative. Perspective can be the most powerful filter through which we live our lives. Of course, the lesson learned rarely comes without significant pain or discomfort along the way.
So there I sat in the chair listening to whatever words continued to follow the only ones that mattered( I’m effectively fired) and I nodded calmly and waited for it to finish. I had no questions of great consequence other than to get the details of my ending date, etc. If the entire meeting lasted 5 minutes it was a lot. I got up and exited with little else to say. In the awkward two months to follow I never again saw or spoke to my general manager.”
This is and can be a very cruel business. As FTVLive said in a vlog, station management uses your ego to help them do their dirty work.
TV news is one business where getting fired is not a black mark on your career. People get fired, not renewed, moving another direction all the time and management knows they can use your ego to try and make it look like you are leaving on your own.
That is exactly what WNBC did with Chris Cimino and they almost got away with it. But, after sitting on the outside looking in, Chris decided in a blog post to tell the truth.
Props to him for doing so!
I’m sure that writing the blog has become somewhat therapeutic for Cimino and telling the truth has to feel right.
The next time the boss calls you and tells you that you will be “spending more time with your family,” think twice about going along with this lie.
People in this business don’t care if your contract is not renewed. Linda Ellerbee used to say, you’re nothing in this business, until you’ve been fired.
The viewers care.
The station wants to lie to those viewers, yet they want the viewers to trust them for news coverage.
How F’d up is that?
Hats off to Chris Cimino for telling the truth.