Longtime TV executive Bob Ellis named general manager of WDIV

Alex Harring
The Detroit News

Bob Ellis, a longtime television executive with Michigan roots, was named Thursday as vice president and general manager of NBC's Detroit affiliate WDIV (Ch. 4).

Ellis will join the station this fall after more than a decade at WJXT-TV in Jacksonville, Florida. The Michigan State University graduate previously spent 15 years at WDIV as news director.

Bob Ellis

“When I was growing up, WDIV was my station. When I was coming up in the industry, WDIV is where I learned what it meant to produce great TV every day and serve a community,” Ellis said in a statement. “Today to come full circle and return to the place that’s meant so much to me throughout my life is incredible. I’m eager to re-join the talented team in Detroit, excited to get involved again in the Detroit community and I look forward to helping continue the legacy of this great, great station.”

Ellis has been credited with strengthening WJXT's digital presence. He was named General Manager of the Year for markets 25-50 by trade publication Broadcasting and Cable Magazine.

He took on a similar role at Jacksonville's WCWJ after Graham Media Group, which owns both WJXT and WDIV, acquired the station from Nexstar Broadcasting in 2017. Ellis focused on strengthening WCWJ's local brand by developing new shows and online guides.

"Bob is an innovative, creative leader who fully appreciates the role local media plays in informing, celebrating, and uplifting the communities served," said Emily Barr, president and CEO of Graham Media Group. "He is also keenly aware of the importance of embracing digital and OTT strategies to further connect with our audiences and users on every platform available.”

Ellis' tenure has been marked by his elevation of local events to large, prime-time specials in Jacksonville. A Fourth of July fireworks show and local spelling bee are among the annual events that became televised under Ellis. His team was also the first to televise a local high school's musical for a prime-time audience.

Under Ellis' leadership, the stations won the prestigious Edward R. Murrow award for having the best local TV website in the United States. He is an 11-time Emmy winner.

He will replace Marla Drutz, who is retiring.


Twitter: @alex_harring