Fox 25 Finds Out What Life Is Like in Post-Stephanos Era

The station just went through its first week without the popular anchor.

Maria Stephanos Photo via the Massachusetts Concention Center Authority

Maria Stephanos Photo via the Massachusetts Concention Center Authority

The departure of longtime Fox 25 anchor Maria Stephanos was a surprise to many.

Loyal viewers expressed their displeasure on social media, staffers privately grumbled about the change, and media observers were left wondering why Cox Media Group would let one of the most recognizable TV personalities in New England walk out the door.

So would her absence be felt in the station’s ratings?

The first two 10 p.m. newscasts in WFXT’s post-Stephanos era showed an immediate dip in viewership in the coveted 25-54-year-old demographic. The station was looking up at WHDH’s 10 p.m. newscast on Monday with a second place rating of 0.88 compared to 1.1 for Channel 7.

WBZ carried the back of the pack during the 10 p.m. hour with a 0.11 rating for Channel 4.

On Tuesday, WHDH’s broadcast repeated as champion of the 10 p.m. news with a 1.03 rating while WFXT inched slightly upward with a 0.90 rating. WBZ recovered from their brutal Monday with a 0.58 rating.

WHDH and WBZ broadcast their 10 p.m. newscasts on sister stations WSBK (TV-38 for you old timers) and WLVI-56, an affiliate of the CW network.

Things changed on Wednesday and Thursday as WFXT recovered it’s top spot at the 10 p.m. hour.

WFXT soared to the top of the mountain on Wednesday with a 1.47 rating while WHDH dropped to 0.68, nearly approaching WBZ’s 0.50 on the night.

On Thursday the situation was similar with WFXT scoring a 1.33, WHDH a 0.88, and WBZ a 0.48.

During her 18 years at the station, Stephanos led the station’s 10 p.m. newscast to the top spot in the ratings for years as the station embraced personality and conversation in its newscasts. The station has made a noticeable move to deemphasize personality and banter since Cox Media Group took it over in a trade (yes, a trade) with Fox Television Stations. The change has also limited the amount of time reporters can spend on stories on air, a move that has upset some staffers.