Demoted anchor says station violated contract

Posted: November 15, 2002

Tim Lake, a general-assignment reporter at WCAU, filed suit against the NBC-owned station (Channel 10) yesterday, saying that it is preventing him from accepting an anchor position at CBS's KYW (Channel 3).

The civil suit was filed in Chester County Court. Lake is a resident of Downingtown.

Lake, who joined WCAU in 1992, was demoted from 5 p.m. coanchor in January. He signed a new agreement with the station March 15 at a "significantly reduced" salary, the suit says.

According to the breach-of-contract suit, Lake's agreement allows him to terminate the deal on 60 days' written notice to accept an anchor position at a station in one of the country's 25 largest markets or at a network.

On Oct. 25, the suit says, Lake received a written offer from KYW to be a weekend anchor and reporter. On Nov. 8, he notified WCAU general manager Dennis Bianchi in writing that he was exercising his option to terminate the agreement to join KYW sometime after Jan. 7. Philadelphia is the nation's fourth-largest market.

In a letter to Lake Nov. 8, a copy of which was included in the suit, Bianchi said that Lake's agreement prohibited him from joining a station within 50 miles of WCAU for 180 days after leaving Channel 10.

If Lake seeks the KYW job, Bianchi wrote, WCAU and NBC "will pursue all available legal remedies" to protect their rights under the agreement.

Lake's attorney, Guy A. Donatelli, had no comment. Also not commenting were WCAU news director Chris Blackman, Bianchi and Lake.

"This is a matter between NBC10 and Tim Lake, so it's really not appropriate for us to comment," a KYW representative said.

Contact Gail Shister at 215-854-2224 or gshister@phillynews.com.

Inquirer reporter Kathleen Brady Shea contributed to this article.

|
|
|
|
|