Station managers at WGRZ are widely known to favor installing Michael Wooten as the lead evening news anchor of the market leading broadcast that has slipped to second place in recent months. Longtime lead anchor Scott Levin recently left the station to pursue other opportunities.
Wooten is a skilled journalist with strong on-air presence and he had been a regular nightly anchor for more than a year, sharing the position with Levin, Demler, and reporter Kelly Dudzik.
But some inside the station worry that Wooten’s easy charm and relaxed demeanor — when paired with Demler’s vivacious persona and effervescent energy — could be too much chemistry for the nightly news broadcast. Several individuals at the station are concerned that pairing an attractive older woman with a good looking young guy shades the broadcast with palpably sexual undertones.
“It’s like watching a cougar in her prime, with her well mannered boy toy,” argues a former WGRZ reporter who asked not to be named.
Others say that the on air chemistry could help strengthen ratings, especially in a market that is largely comprised of older, married viewers. Whether the ‘hyper-local celebrity’ that surrounds the pair could strengthen ratings and attract viewers who continue to be loyal to competitors WIVB and WKBW is a matter for continued speculation.