Channel Surfing

By Laura Nachman
Bucks County Courier Times

February 21, 2006


Many viewers of Fox29’s special about the 20th anniversary of its “Ten O’clock News” that aired Friday night probably wondered why original “Ten O’clock News” reporter and anchor Jill Chernekoff (reporter 1986 – 1998, anchor 1998 - 2001) wasn’t interviewed along with fellow original news members Lee McCarthy and Howard Eskin.   


When reached by email, Chernekoff, who runs her own communications company,, wrote, “I was asked last minute to come in for an interview but was already committed to my clients at two global companies.


I do believe that along with Lee, Roger LaMay (the first news director of “The Ten O’clock News”) and I would have added a lot to the “20th Anniversary “story.  Roger built the news and the original team that made it succeed.”


Original news anchor Lee McCarthy is a professor at Villanova University.  Original sports anchor Howard Eskin works at WIP 610-AM. The special didn’t tell us the whereabouts of original weather anchor Marie Michelini.  Medical reporter Dr. Brian McDonough and reporter Gerald Kolpan, who weren’t part of the first broadcast of February 17, 1986, but joined the station soon after continue to work for Fox.


While the station was celebrating the anniversary of its evening show, it was making changes to its morning show, “Good Day Philadelphia.”  Beginning this week, Kerri Lee Halkett moves from co-host of the 7-9 a.m. show to news anchor of the 5- 7 a.m. show.  “Good Day” reporter Sheinelle Jones becomes a co-host of the show, joining George Mallet and Jennaphr Frederick in the studio.  Also, Sharon Crowley will move from mornings to evenings to take over the reporting role vacated by Tom Burlington, who moves to weekend co-anchor to replace Christian Farr, who moved to Chicago.


Meanwhile, at the network level, television executive, Frank Traynor, of Bloomberg News says if he was running CBS, he’d hire Philadelphia’s Alycia Lane over NBC’s Katie Couric for the anchor position vacated by Dan Rather at the “CBS Evening News.” 


He said, “Lets start with America's so-called sweetheart (Couric).  First off, she ain’t no sweetheart! I saw her up close and personal as a local TV reporter at WRC-4 in Washington, D.C.   She was high maintenance then.  I can only imagine what she may be like now.  Why pay Katie a fortune so she gets richer and still nobody watches CBS.  That’s just dumb math.


I would anoint CBS3's Alycia Lane as the sole anchor of the “CBS Evening News.”  She is the most watchable woman to set foot in a Philly TV station since Jessica Savitch, and has more on the ball than even Jessica did here or at the network.


CBS News boss Sean Mc Manus grew up watching local TV in Baltimore and in the control room at the feet of ABC's Roone Arledge while watching dad Jim McKay bring us the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat. Sean, don't defeat yourself by bringing on baggage from NBC.  Steal a tip from old Roone and grow your own. Who knew Peter Jennings and the rest of the ABC team before Roone made a showcase for their unique talents?”