Tag Archives: O-Town Alumni

Former WKMG anchor now working for QVC

Former Local 6 anchor Shawn Killinger on QVC on Sunday night.

You never know what — or who — you may find when channel surfing on a Sunday evening.

Switching between the NFL Sunday night game and the 10 p.m. news, I came across shopping channel QVC — and former WKMG-Local 6 anchor Shawn Killinger.

The former morning show host, who was in Orlando from 2002-05, was hawking a GPS. A quick check on the web found that she’s been with QVC since June 2007. The last I heard of Shawn was during her appearance on the Martha Stewart version of The Apprentice on NBC in 2005.

You can check out her personal website here.

Was Jim Van Fleet criticizing Orlando, Fox 35 in interview?

The homepage of FTVLive.com's site with its Jim Van Fleet story.

I guess this one depends on your point of view. You can take some comments made by former WOFL-Fox 35 morning meteorologist Jim Van Fleet as either a diss at Orlando TV news or someone who’s just telling it like it is.

In an interview with St. Petersburg Times TV writer Eric Deggans, Van Fleet was asked to talk about his new job as the chief met at Tampa’s WTSP-CBS 10 — a job he started Monday.

“I’m actually here…and allowed to be on air,” joked Van Fleet Monday, referring to the contract issues which kept him from appearing on WTSP until his agreement with Orlando Fox station WOFL-TV fully expired. “That was Triple A, and now I’m ready for the majors.”

FTVLive.com blogger Scott Jones interpreted Van Fleet’s comments as a dig at Fox 35 and O-Town. Wrote Jones: “Not sure how calling his old station and market the minor leagues is going to go over with his former co-workers? But, we’re guessing they won’t be happy knowing they are just scrubs that can’t make it in the ‘Majors.’ ”

I’m willing to give Van Fleet the benefit of the doubt on this given that (a) he left a morning weather position to become a chief meteorologist, and (b) Orlando is the No. 19 television market, and Tampa is No. 14. In that respect, I could see how his new job is like the “majors” compared with ‘Triple A” Orlando. What do you think?

Former Channel 9 reporter Leland Vittert in hot water with Fox News

A lot of Orlando TV news folks move on to bigger and better gigs after O-Town. Some end up making some news themselves.

That appears to be the case with former WFTV-Channel 9 reporter Leland Vittert. NewsBlues.com reports that Vittert — who was hired last year to cover the Middle East for Fox News Channel — may be in a bit of trouble.

According to NewsBlues, “A crew from CNN reportedly saw him in the middle of a high-stakes card game in Tel Aviv, using Fox’s expense money as a gambling bankroll, and squealled on him.”

NewsBlues also says that sources told the site that Vittert has been suspended and is now back in the U.S. Vittert reportedly said he was using the money as pretend currency and no actual money was exchanged. Stay tuned.

Hurricane Irene: Orlando TV’s connection

Former WESH anchor Tom Schaad (right) anchors storm coverage on WAVY-10 in Norfolk.

A couple of notes from a weekend of TV news dominated by Hurricane Irene…

HLN spent Saturday showing coverage from affiliate stations along the East Coast, including Norfolk’s WAVY-NBC 10. On the desk there was former WESH 2 anchor Tom Schaad — a veteran of Orlando’s hurricane-filled season of 2004.

Meanwhile on Sunday, WFTV News Director Bob Jordan — a man who doesn’t hesitate to speak his mind — was busy on Twitter critiquing the New York-centric, doom-and-gloom storm coverage. Some samples of his entertaining tweets:

  • Watching network coverage of the (marginal) hurricane. All I can say is, “Oh, the hyperbole.”
  • In 2004, 5 named storms hit FL. 3 of them (Charley, Frances & Jean) had winds in excess of 115MPH. Sorry NYC, your storm is puny.
  • Some of these network reporters (networks shall remain unnamed) look downright foolish.
  • ABC Reporter informs us that winds are about 20 miles per hour at his location. That’s no typo. TWENTY miles per hour.
  • GMA anchor open at 9A references “MONSTER hurricane.” This is not, has not been and will not be a Monster hurricane. It is a tropical storm.
  • WFTV had more boots on the ground covering the ’04 hurricanes than ABC News does covering this “monster hurricane.”
  • Not much evidence of social media on ABC this morning. They are behind the curve.
  • At 11AM, ABC graphics and copy still refer to Irene as a “hurricane.” This is beyond hype, this is deliberate misinformation.

Heidi Hatch, Todd Romero, Laura Diaz find new roles

Former Fox 35 morning anchor Heidi Hatch (left) with new KUTV 4 p.m. co-anchors Jill Marggetts and Cristina Flores.

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.

Former Orlando newsers talk about O-Town days

Orlando Sentinel TV Guy Hal Boedeker catches up with a group of O-Town TV alumni, asking about their days covering the news in Orlando.

The roster includes CBS News’ Byron Pitts (1986-88 at WESH), CNN’s Jessica Yellin (1998-2000 at News 13), ABC News’ Deborah Roberts (1997-90 at WFTV), CBS News’ Wyatt Andrews (1977-79 at WFTV) and Fox News’ Trace Gallagher (1993-96 at WCPX).

A couple of others I thought of who went on to bigger and better things after their Orlando TV news days: Milissa Rehberger and Bill Karins, both formerly of WOFL and now with MSNBC; Shepard Smith, formerly of WCPX and now with Fox News; Lisa Colagrossi, formerly of WKMG now with WABC; Rob Stafford, formerly of WFTV and Dateline NBC, now anchor at WMAQ Chicago; Ryan Baker, formerly of WCPX-WKMG, now sports anchor at WBBM Chicago; Stewart Scott, formerly of WESH now at ESPN; Anne Craig, formerly of WOFL now at WNYW in New York; and James Ford, formerly of WFTV now at WPIX in New York.

If you know of others, add them as a comment on this post.