Lee Zurik, the investigative reporter who departed WWL-TV Nov. 5, was introduced to his new coworkers in the WVUE-TV newsroom Nov. 10, concluding what was perhaps the worst-kept secret in local media: Zurik was leaving the city's top-rated news station for the local Fox affiliate, where the news division has been beefed up since being sold by Emmis Communications to New Orleans Saints owner Tom Benson. Zurik will be both an investigative reporter and a weekday anchor at WVUE, which has been aggressively courting several WWL alumni since the station hired ex-WWL assistant news director Mikel Schaefer as its news director last November. Since then, WVUE has hired several behind-the-scenes WWL personnel. In October, former WWL reporter Dave McNamara signed with WVUE as a features correspondent.
Zurik's role in revealing the New Orleans Affordable Homeownership (NOAH) scandal earned him the enmity of Mayor Ray Nagin, who famously blasted Zurik in a July 2008 press conference. For that series of reports, Zurik was awarded a George W. Peabody Award, one of the highest honors accorded TV journalists, in April. It also earned him a uniquely New Orleanian accolade: his visage on a float during the satirical Krewe d'Etat Carnival parade.
Due to a "noncompete" clause in his WWL contract, Zurik won't be on the WVUE airwaves until May, keeping him off the air during the upcoming election season. — Kevin Allman