Tom Hanks strolls down movie memory lane with WGN funsters
Robservations on the media beat:
- It may have been the best bit ever on a local morning news show: When Tom Hanks showed up for a live interview Friday on WGN Morning News, he was surprised in the hallway by producer Jeff Hoover dressed as Woody from Toy Story and a half-dozen other staffers costumed as various characters from Hanks’ movies. “Tom Hanks, this is your life!” joked entertainment reporter Dean Richards. Hanks’ impromptu reaction to each one was priceless. “He played right along,” Hoover later said, calling Hanks “my favorite guest ever to appear on our show.” See why for yourself.
- It wasn’t exactly a shocker to hear that Tim Dukes quit last week after only five months as director of programming for NextMedia Chicago. But it was a surprise to learn that he’s not going to work for Randy Michaels’ Merlin Media. Long part of Michaels’ Jacor/Clear Channel cadre, Dukes served as vice president of interactive marketing for Tribune Co. (He’s also a former program director of the Loop — one of the stations Michaels just bought.) Instead, Dukes, 44, is moving to Dallas to become director of strategic development for Halftime, a nonprofit Christian agency that works with executives in the second half of their careers. “I can’t wait to apply my years in radio of building audiences to building a larger audience for Halftime and what they do,” Dukes told me. As for the road not taken? “Regardless of who owns the Loop, it will always have a place in my heart. I will watch from afar and hopefully admire the progress they make. Because I’m human, I’m sure I’ll have a certain degree of envy along the way.”
- The Daily Herald’s last full-time TV/Radio columnist just became the latest journalist to cross over to public relations for a government agency. Ted Cox, who most recently covered Cook County government for the Herald, has been named deputy director of communications for County Board President Toni Preckwinkle. Cox spent 17 years at the Herald until he was laid off last March. He doubled as a free-lancer for the Reader. “Yes, I’m going over to the other side, the constructive side, the proactive side,” he tweeted. “Feels exhilarating, like shedding one’s skin.” Among other recent crossovers, former Fox Chicago reporter Lilia Chacon now directs PR for Stephanie Neely, the city treasurer of Chicago.
- With the renewal of her contract at NBC 5, Allison Rosati begins her 15th year as the station’s main news anchor. That’s the longest continuous run of any 10pm anchor in Chicago. Considering that she and the now-retired Warner Saunders landed their marquee roles by accident (after Carol Marin and Ron Magers resigned in protest over the hiring of Jerry Springer as a commentator in 1997), Rosati’s resiliency continues to amaze some and baffle others. The 48-year-old mother of four joined the station in 1990 after stops in Buffalo, New York, and Rochester, Minnesota.
- It’s fine and dandy if the Reader wants to single out a Chicago magazine digital editor and former Reader staffer named Whet Moser as Chicago’s "best blogger." (Although a million or two readers of Roger Ebert might disagree.) But what galled me was this line in the Reader’s Best of Chicago issue: “Moser’s got integrity, choosing to promote the work of the city’s underappreciated investigative reporters and avoiding all the politicking that can make the local media scene somewhat cliquish.” Excuse me, but isn’t it just a teensy bit hypocritical to sneer about “cliquish media” when you’re extolling a guy who worked for your own publication until earlier this year?