Bad Ratings Sunk Boston News Director

Yesterday, FTVLive told you that WBZ in Boston had parted ways with News Director John Verrilli.

So why did the ND get kicked to the curb? 

"Bad ratings," said a station insider to the Boston Herald. WBZ newscasts were mired in last and next-to-last place.

General Manager Mark Lund met with staffers yesterday to break the news. Verrilli, who had been at ’BZ since 2009, will be replaced temporarily by assistant news director Sarah Burke until a permanent successor is named.

“We know ratings have been a challenge,” said one station snitch. “We have to get better.”

In the February ratings, WBZ was in third place in the 5, 6 and 7 p.m. newscasts, behind WCVB-TV (Ch. 5) at No. 1 and WHDH-TV (Ch. 7) at No. 2. The station’s 5 a.m. and 6 a.m. news were in last place behind Channel 5, Channel 7 and Fox 25. Numbers-wise, Ed Harding and Heather Unruh on Channel 5’s 6 p.m. newscast drew nearly twice as many viewers as Jack Williams and Lisa Hughes on ’BZ (211,000 to 119,000). At 11 p.m., Channel 5 had 153,000 viewers, compared with Channel 4’s 104,000.

Verrilli was well-liked and respected by the staff; however, he was hired by former station GM Ed Piette.