Sunny forecast: Ginger Zee zooming to ‘GMA Weekend’
Robservations on the media beat:
- Chicago’s sweetheart is leaving us. Ginger Zee, who’s been weekend meteorologist at WMAQ-Channel 5 since 2006, appears to be headed for ABC’s Good Morning America in New York. It’s not official yet, but insiders say she’ll be filling the long-vacant weather slot on GMA Weekend after her contract expires here in October. She has been making occasional appearances on NBC’s Today since early last year. Named after the Ginger character on Gilligan’s Island, Zee, 30, grew up in western Michigan and worked at WOOD-TV in Grand Rapids before joining NBC 5. Zee’s agent, Rick Ramage of N.S. Bienstock Inc., declined to comment.
- Frank Holland, a reporter and fill-in news anchor at WDIV-TV in Detroit, has been hired as early morning news anchor at Tribune Co.-owned WGN-Channel 9. Starting September 12, he’ll co-anchor with Erin McElroy from 4 to 5:30am weekdays and double as a reporter for WGN Morning News. A native of West Philadelphia and a graduate of the University of Pittsburgh, Holland began his career at stations in Fairbanks, Alaska. “We know our viewers will appreciate Frank’s energy and passion for good storytelling,” WGN news director Greg Caputo said in a statement.
- Remember the story about the 4-year-old boy whose comment about wanting to own a gun was edited wildly out of context in a report about a drive-by shooting on CBS-owned WBBM-Channel 2? Now U.S. Rep. Bobby Rush wants to make a federal case out of it. Columnist Bob Butler, who first detailed the incident on the website of the Maynard Institute for Journalism Education, followed up with a report that Rush may call for a congressional hearing. A member of Rush’s staff even raised the ominous specter of a challenge to CBS 2’s FCC license. “I know he [Rush] feels it’s not enough to say it was just a mistake, because there’s no such thing as just a mistake when you impact the life of a young child,” communications director Renee Ferguson told Butler. That’s the same Renee Ferguson who was a reporter for CBS 2 in the 1970s and later worked at NBC 5.
- This week’s cover story of Time Out Chicago, Alt rocked — behind the music at the late, sometimes great Q101, previews James VanOsdol’s upcoming oral history on former alternative rocker WKQX-FM (101.1). In addition to touching on the format’s launch in 1992 and Q101’s odd relationship with Pearl Jam in the mid-’90s, the veteran personality asks fellow jocks to recall their most memorable moments with artists. “Wendy Snyder may have the best story of that particular bunch,” VanOsdol said. “She took a hard line with a Gwen Stefani interview in 1996 and Gwen called her out for it later that night, while on stage at Metro.”
- Fair or foul? Four writers and one broadcaster were named this week to the media wing of ESPN Chicago’s inaugural Sports Hall of Fame. Columnist Jon Greenberg, who compiled the list, placed early 20th century writer Ring Lardner on top, followed by WGN broadcast legend Jack Brickhouse (who aced out Harry Caray). Ranking third, fourth and fifth were columnists Bob Verdi, Mike Royko and Jerome Holtzman. “This isn’t a perfect list, but that’s the point,” Greenberg wrote. Among names he said he considered and rejected were Bill Gleason, John Schulian, David Israel, Jay Mariotti, Don Pierson, Arch Ward, Jeannie Morris, Bernie Lincicome, Tim Weigel, Bob Langer, Sam Smith, Arne Harris and Ozzie Guillen. (I’d have nominated Danny Lee, owner and co-founder of the Score, Chicago’s first full-time sports/talk radio station. But what are the odds he’d have made it on a list compiled by Score rival ESPN Chicago?)
- Oprah Winfrey’s OWN network premieres a two-hour documentary this week spotlighting Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart’s unique program to help women escape prostitution. Debuting at 8pm Thursday, Prostitution: Leaving the Life focuses on three former prostitutes who are helping women in Cook County Jail redeem their lives. This marks the fourth network documentary project in recent years to focus a positive light on the sheriff’s office. Previous series included Cook County Jail on Discovery Channel, The Squeeze on MSNBC, and three episodes of Cops on Fox.