Smith came to Channel 11 in June 2011 and presided over a turbulent period at the station. The announcement this afternoon by Fox 11 general manager Kevin Hale that Smith had resigned to pursue that magical career path — other opportunities — ends a 20-year association with Fox stations. It also smacks of being pushed. Sam Rubin of competitor KTLA thinks he knows why. Rubin posted on Facebook:
The real reason that Smith lost his job is that for the past two years or so he has been a willing and active participant is the ill-advised dismantling of a once popular and important news gathering organization. So after Smith followed orders, fired a ton of people at Fox 11; including very talented and popular on-air types like Mark Thompson and Dorothy Lucey; the ratings are a disaster, the news gathering abilities are destroyed; and guess who gets the blame….the sap who followed the orders, coming from higher-ups in New York incidentally, to cut KTTV to beyond the bone.
What really matters here, and this is where “executives” always make the biggest mistake, is that television news in 2013 is a personality business. There is simply nothing more important than “feel,” how a show sincerely feels to those who watch it. KTTV went from feeling fun and brash, to heartless and cold. Nothing more effectively communicates feeling than television. And when the atmosphere behind the camera is mean and mean-spirited; that stuff actually shows up on the air.
I don’t know Kingsley Smith, I have never met him, and chances are now I never will. But what he was ordered to do during the last two years was exactly the wrong thing to do. A smarter and stronger executive would have stood up to those giving the orders. Smith didn’t and now he too is gone.
Assistant news director Tom Searson will be the acting ND while a search is on for Smith's replacement, the announcement said. I don't know enough about how the structure works at Fox 11 to know if Smith was the boss who told Dorothy Lucey that the sound of her voice made his eyes bleed then dropped her from "Good Day LA."
Previously on LA Observed:
New managing editor named at Fox 11
Al Naipo moving on from Fox 11
Jane Yamamoto now a reporter on Channel 4 news
Jean Martirez the next woman out at Fox 11
Jillian Barberie Reynolds out, next blonde in
Dorothy Lucey moves on with blog about Fox 11 boss who fired her
Dorothy Lucey out as Fox 11's 'Good Day LA' reboots
John Schwada's contract not renewed by Fox 11
LAO file photo: Fox 11 studios on Bundy Drive in West Los Angeles