Chris McDonnell’s Giant Move: From S.F. to N.Y.


In April 1958, just 3 1/2 years after the team won the 1954 World Series, the New York Giants baseball club moved to San Francisco from the Polo Grounds.

Now, a Nexstar Media Group local TV leader is moving from the Bay Area to the Big Apple.

Chris McDonnell has been promoted to VP/GM of WPIX-11 in New York, the former Tribune Media flagship that serves as the CW Network’s affiliate in Market No. 1.

Officially, he will direct WPIX under the terms of a local programming and marketing agreement between Nexstar and the station’s licensee, Mission Broadcasting.

As RBR+TVBR reported on Dec. 30, 2020, The E.W. Scripps Company is no longer the owner of WPIX-11. Mission became the owner through Nexstar’s decision to transfer its option to purchase the station to Mission.

Scripps purchased WPIX as part of its acquisition of eight television stations in seven markets from Nexstar. Those stations were being divested in connection with Nexstar Media Group’s acquisition of Tribune Media in September 2019.

McDonnell has been VP/GM of news-intensive KRON-4 in San Francisco since 2017, and his move to WPIX suggests Nexstar will ramp up WPIX’s news department — one that is largely known as the weekend home of veteran Big Apple anchor Kaity Tong. 

During his tenure at KRON McDonnell and his team added new hour-long weekday newscasts at 3pm and 9pm, while he also orchestrated the launch of KRONOn.TV, a local 24-hour digital streaming news application.

With KRON-TV now producing nearly 20 hours of local news each weekday, WPIX could be poised for a similar ramp-up in a market where Spectrum News NY1 has come under scrutiny for changes since its time as a Time Warner Media property and where Optimum-distributed News 12 has a highly localized approach to its round-the-clock news coverage.

If anything, WPIX’s increased news coverage would be a competitor to CBSN New York, the all-news OTT offering produced by WCBS-2 in New York.

Before joining KRON McDonnell served as the President/GM of NBCUniversal Telemundo Enterprises’ WSNS-TV in Chicago. He also handled sales and marketing for the Telemundo station and, before that, worked in sales management at NBC O&Os WMAQ-5 in Chicago, KXAS-5 in Dallas and at KNSD-39 in San Diego.