Yes, Virginia — there really is life after Orlando TV, and here are some examples to prove it.
Former Fox 35 morning anchor Heidi Hatch, who left the station in June, has landed at Salt Lake City’s KUTV. She’ll be anchoring a new 4 p.m. newscast at the CBS affiliate — with “Utah’s only all-female anchor team,” the station says. “KUTV is proud to welcome Heidi Hatch back to Utah to co-anchor the show. Heidi is a Utah native who is returning home from Orlando where she was a morning anchor for 5 years.” Hatch is definitely missed by her former Good Day viewers, who keep posting comments about her departure.
Another former morning host has switched mediums. WKMG morning anchor Laura Diaz has officially joined the morning crew at WXXL-106.7 FM. She popped up on the radio show just after she left Channel 6. Now, she’s known on radio as Lady Laura.
Former WESH weekend anchor Craig Lucie has moved up to Cox flagship WSB-ABC 2, while WFTV reporter Mark Boyle has headed to Texas to Post-Newsweek’s KPRC-NBC 2 in Houston.
Meanwhile, former WKMG sports anchor Todd Romero (below) has also found employment out west. He’s been spotted doing sports report in Denver at the Tribune/Local TV LLC duopoly of KWGN-CW 2 and KDVR-Fox 31.
“I don’t think I can do television anymore,” she told TV Guy Hal Boedeker on Monday. “It’s just a lot of pressure. I got into it young. I moved up quickly. It’s really a tough job to do. You have to have a certain thick skin.”
She added: “Being on the air every day is getting to me. I’m too down-to-earth to be an on-air personality. There’s a lot of wondering in my mind and heart. I don’t want to wait another 10 years and be too far in my career to make a switch.”
WKMG GM Skip Valet stressed to the Sentinel that this wasn’t the station’s decision. In fact, he says had been trying to talk Diaz, 28, out of her decision. No luck, though.
Starting Monday, Matt Austin from Oklahoma City — who was hired to be Diaz’s co-anchor — will helm the Local 6 morning newscast with traffic reporter Jessica Sanchez and meteorologist Troy Bridges.
FTVLive.com, citing MediaStars, says morning anchor Laura Diaz signed a multi-year deal with WKMG — but that bit of information is not listed on MediaStars’ website. So maybe she did, maybe she didn’t — but at least she’s not leaving.
Former WKMG-Local 6 anchor Bob Frier, who recently signed with WOFL-Fox 35, will make his debut on his new station Dec. 14, according to station promos. Still no word on how the anchor duties at Fox 35 are going to be shuffled with Frier’s arrival. But it’s great that he will be back on TV — and may make the difference in pushing Fox 35 permanently ahead of WKMG in the early evening time slots where they square off. …
Holiday cheer, courtesy of Central Florida’s News Leader: When the City of Orlando said it would not have a Christmas tree this year due to budget cuts, WFTV-Channel 9 repsonded. According to the Orlando Sentinel, “A 31-foot blue spruce was donated by Warren Brown and Co., a tree farm, and the $6,800 cost of transporting it from North Carolina and installing it is being paid by AirTran Airways and WFTV.” Channel 9 is also a sponsor of the holiday Light Up UCF event. …
What will WFTV do when Oprah Winfrey ends her talk show in 2011? It’s probably too early to tell, but according to Broadcasting & Cable, most ABC O&O’s which air Oprah already know what they’re doing – more news. “According to many sources, executives at the ABC stations that serve as Oprah’s key station group have long said they will fill the time slots by expanding their local news. The ABC stations remain strong–even in today’s tough environment–and are news leaders,” B&C reported So, don’t be surprised to see WFTV’s Eyewitness News starting at 4 p.m. come September 2011. That’s still a long way off, and lots of things could happen, but that’s my bet. …
They’re hearing wedding bells over at WKMG. Local 6 evening anchor Mike Garofalo got hitched, and morning anchor Laura Diaz got engaged. Orlando Sentinel TV Guy Hal Boedeker reports that Garofalo married Sasha Andrade, a reporter at Post-Newsweek sister station WPLG-Local 10 in Miami. Boedeker says Diaz got engaged a month ago “to a WKMG colleague she identifies only as Mike.” Diaz told Boedeker, “He’s in sales. He’s in the other world, what we call the dark side.”
Something is up at WKMG — and it’s not the ratings.
That’s one likely reason the station is playing musical anchors. GM Skip Valet told the Sentinel’s Hal Boedeker that morning anchor Lauren Rowe will now anchor the 11 p.m. newscast — displacing Jacqueline London, who will still anchor at 6 p.m. Moving into Rowe’s morning spot opposite Erick Weber is Laura Diaz, who has been WKMG’s weekend morning anchor.
Boedeker obtained an email Valet sent the WKMG staff: “You will notice some different anchoring assignments over the coming weeks. We are simply trying some new things over the long, hot summer. We feel we are now producing the most comprehensive and interesting newscasts in town, and we want our viewers to be exposed to all of the members of our strong team.”
So, from the sound of the email, it appears the changes aren’t permanent. Of course, there’s nothing permanent in TV news, right? Read more from Hal here.
Do you think the moves will move the ratings needle in the right direction for WKMG? Sound off with your comments below….