Monthly Archives: March 2006

Smith Engineers Exit from Channel 9

WFTV morning meteorologist Joe Smith is getting out of the weather biz … and the TV biz, too. According to, Smith has decided to enter the graduate engineering program at Cal-Berkeley this fall.

After graduating from the FSU meteorology program, he started out at Tallahassee’s ABC affiliate before jumping up to Channel 9 in May 2003.

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Comments, School Days and Networking

Trying to serve you better, you’ll notice new links at the bottom of the story posts on this news page. Click where it says "comments" and you can leave a comment on what you just read or you can read what other people have to say about the news item.

Some folks have been asking to be able to do this for awhile, but I have resisted. I figured the TV Talk Forum area of the site was sufficient for commentary. But I’ve decided to allow comments to be posted on the news items here because there is one advantage to doing so.

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Going Out of the Biz, and Going Out of Town …

WESH Sunrise reporter Shannon FitzPatrick signed off Wednesday morning. She’s leaving the TV biz to pursue a career in real estate and marketing. (I’d like to have a dollar for every TV person who has gone into real estate, but I digress.) FitzPatrick started at WESH in 1998 and moved to the Sunrise show in 2005. Little-known trivia about FitzPatrick: She’s the niece of 1980s WESH anchor Carol Granstrom.

Meanwhile, over at WFTV, I failed to note the departure of weekend anchor Jorge Estevez. His last day on the air was March 19. He’s heading to Miami’s CBS O&O, WFOR. No word on his replacement at Channel 9, although with Cynthia Demos also off this past Saturday-Sunday, it was Greg Warmoth and Chris Egert filling in on the weekend desk.

Continue reading Going Out of the Biz, and Going Out of Town …

Weekend A.M. News Off WKMG

You now have one fewer choice for weekend morning news. WKMG has pulled the plug on its weekend First News shows, with the last one airing this past Sunday morning.

WKMG started the weekend morning newscasts three years ago, with Steven Cooper anchoring and Michele Cimino reporting the weather. When the shows debuted in April 2003, they ran for two hours, then they were cut to 90 minutes, then to just an hour each by January 2004.

WKMG News Director Skip Valet said the weekend newscasts are on "hiatus" but could return. "When the time is right, we will revisit the weekend AM broadcast, and then produce the newscast with the resources and support it deserves," he said.

The weekend newscasts’ biggest highlight might have been on Saturday, Aug. 14, 2004 — when they were part of WKMG’s coverage of Hurricane Charley. Cimino and Cooper reported to duty early that Saturday morning as Local 6 was the only area station to stay on the air overnight, despite not having power at the station.

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Doctor Files Suit Against WFTV

Attorneys for a Winter Park plastic surgeon have filed a defamation suit against WFTV-Channel 9 for a series of reports the station ran about the doctor.

According to the Orlando Sentinel, the civil suit by Dr. Thomas Trevisani alleges that Channel 9 aired reports in 2002, 2003 and 2004 that contained false and defamatory statements. Reported the Sentinel: "The lawsuit cites examples of ‘defamatory statements’ in which WFTV reported that Trevisani knew and allowed ‘unscrupulous behavior’ by his clinic employees, and that a "felon" and "two ex-cons" were doing physical exams and prescribing surgery at his clinic."

WFTV Vice President and General Manager Shawn Bartelt issued a statement that said: "The news reports at issue regarding Dr. Trevisani were fair and accurate accounts of matters of public concern. WFTV stands behind the content of its stories."

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Does Anyone Know Sports at Fox 35?

As anyone who has watched a Fox 35 newscast can attest, sports is not a high priority at the station. But you would think the WOFL folks would know the difference between football and basketball.

Take Sunday night, for instance. During The Simpsons, Fox 35 aired a promo for its 10 p.m. news, teasing a report on the University of Florida’s basketball team: "It’s do or die for the Gators. It’s been a long time since they went to the Final Four. We’ll tell you all about their battle with Villanova."

Nothing wrong with that, right? Well, Fox 35 ran that over football highlights. Click the play button below to see what I’m talking about:

And I’m pretty sure Florida wasn’t playing Villanova in that football game. This could have just been a mistake, or it could have been Fox trying to get around CBS and NCAA restrictions on running basketball highlights.

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