Channel Surfing
by Laura Nachman
Bucks County Courier Times
December 30, 2003

Since this area seems to be crazed about weather, it was inevitable that we would get a half hour special. "EarthWatch 2003" starring Glenn "Hurricane" Schwartz, Bill Henley, Amy Freeze, Doug Kammerer and Dave Warren airs on WCAU tonight at 7 p.m.  There is no truth to the rumor that "The Traffic Variety Hour" will air on KYW next week.

"Hurricane" was named "The Most Trusted" weather personality in a poll conducted by "Philadelphia" magazine.  He had 34% of the vote.  WPVI's Cecily Tynan had 33%.  WPVI's Dave Roberts followed with 18%, WTXF's Rob Guarino had 8% and KYW's Kathy Orr had 7%.

In more traditional programming, WCAU will recall the top news stories of the year in "NBC10 Rings in the New Year" tomorrow at 7 p.m. hosted by Tim Lake and Sheela Allen Stephens. Then for the fourth year in a row, WCAU will air the fireworks at Penns Landing at 11:35 p.m.

Philadelphia's popular retro-jersey store Mitchell & Ness will be featured on "Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel" tonight at 10 p.m. on HBO.  The center city store, where practically every visiting professional athlete shops when in town, is credited with starting the current throwback apparel craze.  Where's my Ron Flockhart jersey?

Former WCAU anchor and Bucks county resident Lisa Mishler gave birth to a son, Chase Maxwell on December 20.  He joins sister Alexis, 2.  Mishler left WCAU at the end of last year after not coming to terms on a contract. Don't be surprised if she ends up on Channel 3 in 2004. 

This is the first week of WPHL's return to a half hour news show at 10 p.m.  The new co-anchor with Toni Yates is Scott Engler, who worked in New York and Seattle, but was out of work before getting this position. 

Mike Dardis, who spent nine years as a sports and news anchor will begin his new job at the ABC affiliate in Seattle as the morning anchor.  Dardis said, "Under the new leadership of (general manager) Vince Giannini, I expect WPHL to do well."

In case you are keeping score, three of the four principals on the WPHL anchor desk - Engler, Kirk Clyatt (weather), and Geraud Moncure (sports) were unemployed before joining WPHL.

The half hour news means that "Cheers" will return to 10:30 p.m.  "Will and Grace" will replace "Sharon Osbourne" at 11 p.m.  Osbourne moves to 2 p.m.

Though WCAU newcomer Heather Mitts isn't a complete rookie to television (Fox Sports Net, ABC/ESPN's coverage of the Women's World Cup), it still wasn't enough experience for her to fill-in for Vai Sikahema when he suddenly took ill a couple of weeks ago or to fill-in on Christmas. 

A WCAU spokesperson said Mitts will be eased in to a sports anchor role eventually. For now, she'll continue as a host on "10" on Monday and Tuesday and contribute reports for sports.

It must be nice to work for CN8.  They are the only news organization I've ever seen that takes off for Christmas. Plus free cable.