11Alive adds new morning show host Shiba Russell

Shiba Russell last worked at WNBC-TV in New York but will join Vinnie Politan in mornings at 11 Alive starting in July, 2016. CREDIT: WXIA-TV

Shiba Russell last worked at WNBC-TV in New York but will join Vinnie Politan in mornings at 11 Alive starting in July, 2016. CREDIT: WXIA-TV

By RODNEY HO/ rho@ajc.com, originally filed Friday, May 20, 2016

Shiba Russell will be added to the 11 Alive morning line-up for “Atlanta Alive” in July.

She will be joining Vinnie Politan, Jaye Watson, traffic guy Crash Clark and meteorologist Chesley McNeil.

Traffic guy Fred McFarlin’s name was absent from the press release. I am awaiting a response from the NBC affiliate about his future. As of late Friday afternoon, I’ve heard nothing. (UPDATE: 5/26/16: Yes. He was let go. Finally got confirmation today. His job is not being replaced. Budget cuts at the station, on top of 15 veteran staff taking early retirement last month.)

Russell, who grew up in New Jersey, came from WNBC-TV, where she had been co-anchor of the noon and 5:30 p.m. weekday newscasts until February. Her previous stints were with Neighorhood News 12 on Long Island, WTAE-TV in Pittsburgh, and WCVB-TV in Boston.

“Shiba brings extensive journalistic experience to the team as a field reporter and anchor in the country’s largest market covering some of the biggest stories in the last several years,” said 11Alive News Director Jennifer Rigby in the press release. “She is the perfect addition to our Atlanta Alive morning team and together with Vinnie, Chesley, Crash and Jaye, they will deliver the information you need, a great dose of energy and always some motivation to help get your day off to the right start.”

According to TVSpy in February:

At one time, Russell was a rising star at WNBC, replacing longtime anchor Sue Simmons when she left in 2012, only to be pushed out by Sibila Vargasarrival from Los Angeles in 2014.

I grew up in New York in the 1980s and remember Simmons and her co-anchor Chuck Scarborough. They were together for more than 30 years. Scarborough, before becoming a legendary New York anchor, passed through WAGA-TV briefly 45 years ago when it was a CBS affiliate.

Another blog speculated that Russell and Scarborough lacked chemistry.


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