Media Scene

Former WCNC sports anchor Christopher Clark loses job, then wins 4 Emmys

Christopher Clark with Zack Gilbert doing the eye thing at Time Warner Arena.
Christopher Clark with Zack Gilbert doing the eye thing at Time Warner Arena.

Christopher Clark collected four regional Emmys over the weekend, not a bad haul for anybody, but particularly impressive for someone just let go by his station.

Clark joined WCNC (Channel 36) in Sept. 2012. Since then the station has been sold and its new owner, Tegna Inc., has been making big changes in the news staff to control costs and try to elevate WCNC out of its perennial third-place finish in news shows against other Charlotte TV stations.

Clark was told over the summer that his contract was not going to be renewed, but he was signed to an extension by Tegna through the fall football season.

“I was told they were going in a different direction,” says Clark.

He was moved to weekend sportscasts and former weekend sports host Russ Owens was moved to weekdays.

“I wasn’t the future at that point,” says Clark. “They’ve got their plan, they’re working their plan. I don’t begrudge them.”

Clark, 40, won a regional Emmy his first year in Charlotte and two in his second. Saturday night, he won regional Emmys in sportscast, sports promo, sports feature and editing.

Overall he has won 21 regional Emmys during his career, which has taken him to stations in Clarksburg, W.Va.; Savannah, Ga.; Tampa, Fla.; and Atlanta.

Clark hit town with an unusual schtick.

He copied Joe Pesci’s “look-me-in-the-eye” thing in “Goodfellas.” Pretty soon, high school students were giving him the fingers-pointing-to-the-eyes salute whenever he showed up.

“Some people thought I was a jackass and said that’s childish and stupid,” Clark says, “Well, I’ve got an army of people who are childish and stupid.”

He’s gotten hundreds of pictures from viewers imitating the sign – including one from an underwater dive in the Bahamas, one on the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem, one on the Great Wall of China.

Other winners of local Emmys include Kim Holt, Dana Ellison, Phil Orban, Andy Holt, Christopher Johnson, Stacey Minchin, Stephanie Coueignoux, Lawrence Gilligan and Ken Lemon of WSOC (Channel 9) for weekend newscast; Jeff Sonier and Doug Stacker of WTVI (Channel 42) for business report on the possibilities of a Catawba casino; Richard Brooke and Maxwell Brooke of Raycom Sports for sports promo; Brian Stann and David Barringer of Raycom Sports for sports program feature; Jeremy Williams, Maxwell Brooke, Richard Brooke, David Daly and Cory Alexander of Raycom Sports for a documentary on Charles Scott; Adam Shumaker of Fox Sports South for graphic arts; Fred Story of Concentrix Music and Sound Design for music arrangement; and Dennis Scholl and Marlon Johnson of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation for arts.

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