News Anchor Fired After Going Off-Script To Deliver ‘Reckless’ Monologue About Ex-Colleague

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Lynette Romero had been at KTLA-TV in Los Angeles for over 23 years. She was part of a news team, co-anchoring with fellow broadcaster Mark Mester.

Romero left abruptly last week after being with the station for nearly 24 years, the Los Angeles Times reported.

“Last week, KTLA announced that Romero, a longtime anchor of its popular weekend morning show, had left the station without saying goodbye to viewers, drawing wide outrage and criticism,” the Times reported.

The station had briefly announced that Romero, an Emmy Award winner, was leaving to pursue “another opportunity elsewhere,” TheWrap reported, quoting a statement read Sept. 14 by anchor Sam Rubin.

“After nearly 24 years, Lynette Romero, our friend Lynette, has decided to move on from anchoring our weekend morning news. KTLA management had hoped she would stay here her entire career, and KTLA worked hard to make that happen, but Lynette has decided to move onto another opportunity elsewhere.”

The announcement created some confusion on Twitter, with posts asking,” Strange how she didn’t get a goodbye show after so many years. Many viewers are wondering what really happened.”

In a follow-up article, TheWrap gave details that explained some of the anger over her departure: “Romero, reportedly beloved by her colleagues in the KTLA newsroom, wasn’t permitted to clean out her own belongings or say goodbye to longtime viewers of the newscast.”

The Times quoted anonymous station sources who provided background: “Romero no longer wanted to work weekends and had asked management to allow her to work a weekday anchor shift so she could spend more time with her family, but she was told there were no openings. She reportedly has been hired at KNBC-TV, L.A.’s NBC affiliate, as one of its weekday morning show anchors.”

It is common practice in the TV news business “for newsroom manaers not to give airtime to talent leaving for a competitor station,” the Times reported.

Fans responded with complaints about the abrupt change. Romero was low-key about her departure, but on the day of the announcement, she retweeted a comment by one viewer, Michael Mattes.

“Granted I’m just a viewer and don’t know the whole ins and outs of what happened but the way the amazing @LynetteRomero was seemingly dismissed today without giving her a proper goodbye opportunity is a BAD look,” Mattes wrote.

Romero’s Twitter post responded with gratitude for her viewers’ support and a hint at her plans: “Stay tuned my friends I’ll be right back.”

Romero’s co-anchor at KTLA-TV, Mark Mester, apparently was not hoppy with the situation surrounding Romero’s leaving the station, and decided to ad-lib during his broadcast.

The situation prompted Mester to plan his own farewell to Romero, TheWrap reported.

“Mester went off-script during a Saturday broadcast, saying the handling of her exit was ‘cruel’ and ‘inappropriate,’ and apologized on the station’s behalf. The four-minute ad-lib ignored a written script from producers.

Mester said,” You did not deserve this,” calling Romero his “best friend.” “It was a mistake, and we hope you can find it in your heart to forgive us.”

Those words suggest that Romero’s leaving the station was not her idea.

The producers also declined to show footage of a plane Mester hired to fly a banner over the station that said ‘We love you Lynette.’”

Mester was promptly suspended by the station after the Saturday broadcast in which he went off-script to complain about the management’s treatment of Lynette Romero.

The report said one longtime anchor at the station described Mester’s behavior as “unprofessional” and “reckless.”

“It was supposed to be shown over a script that was warm, loving and appreciative. It was awesome, and [Romero] would’ve loved that,” the unnamed anchor said of the farewell segment that producers had planned. “Mark hijacked that and made it about him.”

The suspension was in place when the station decided to fire Mester the next week.

Staffers said Mester’s departure was announced to the newsroom Thursday afternoon, the report said.

The KTLA website no longer lists him on its roster of reporters and anchors.

“Mark Mester is no longer employed by KTLA,” a representative of the station’s parent company, Nexstar, told TheWrap. “As this is a personnel matter, we will decline further comment.

Twitter is abuzz with angry viewers, who were still wondering about the circumstances of Romero’s leaving when Mester was fired on the heels of that unexplained change.

“YOU (KTLA) had been a pillar of the community for 75 years, KTLA. but now more than ever we believe you need a refresher course, a reminder fo what being family truly means to you. Because this ain’t it. #BoycottKTLA’

And, “I had @KTLA on whether or not I was watching. You were my ‘to g” channel for decades. Lynette’s departure was still unclear but firing @mester_mark is unforgivable.”

Mester did not respond to requests for comment from TheWrap or the Times. He had been with the station since 2014, according to the Times.

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