Channel Surfing
by Laura Nachman
January 2, 2002

       Craig Weber's age discrimination complaint against WPHL could go to trial in March according to one of his attorneys, Peter Rosenzweig.  Rosenzweig and Alan B. Epstein (whom Denzel Washington's character in the movie "Philadelphia" was based on) of the center city law firm Spector Gadon & Rosen P.C. are representing the former WPHL meteorologist.  The firm also successfully represented former WCAU personality Herb Denenberg in a similar case. Tribune Television Company, WPHL and Leslie Glenn, the general manager of the station are named as defendants in the amended complaint, which was filed December 19 with the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.  Weber, 52, a meteorologist since 1979, was fired from WPHL in June of 2000 and replaced with 24-year-old Steve MacLaughlin, who had no major market experience.  To add insult to injury, this came after a period when Weber worked the weekday and weekend newscasts, a total of 114  days in a row. Currently a fill-in for CN8, Weber who also was at KYW, is seeking damages in excess of $150,000.  WPHL is represented by the center city firm of Littler Mendelson. 
In other legal news, a hearing recently took place with the PA Human Relations Commission to investigate the racial discrimination complaint by former news anchor Rich Noonan against WTXF.   The anchor contends he was fired because Fox wanted a black/white news team.

Marc Howard and Kathy Orr debut on KYW, make that CBS-3, Monday.  Howard will be anchoring the 11 p.m. news and Orr will take over the 5 p.m., 6 p.m., and 11 p.m. weather chores.  Meanwhile, Larry Kane's final broadcast on December 23rd grabbed a 10.5 rating/17 share over WCAU's 9.2 rating/15 share, around a 3 point increase over normal numbers, but well below the 17.8 rating that WCAU got for the John Bolaris farewell. WPVI's news ran late that night due to "Monday Night Football." 

Also, contrary to some talk around town, a KYW spokesperson denied that the station is planning to start a 4 p.m. newscast to take advantage of the lead-in from "Dr. Phil."  KYW can't move "Dr. Phil" to 4 p.m., because under his contract, his show is not allowed to compete with "Oprah," which airs on WPVI at that time. 

"The Other Half" with Dick Clark, Danny Bonaduce, and Mario Lopez will return to WCAU.  It began the season on Channel 48, but was "snatched up by Channel 10" according to a WGTW spokesperson.  It is likely to replace "Life Moments" on WCAU at 11 a.m.

Paging Eric Snow

The new weather anchor for WCAU is named Amy Freeze (her real name!)  Her initial assignment will be the evening weekend weather position.

WCAU reporter Sheela Allen-Stephens came to the rescue during a recent episode of "10."  Due to a scheduling mix-up, there wasn't a make-up person one day last week, and Allen-Stephens was spotted applying make-up to some of the guests.  Besides doing makeup, cut-up Stephens would be a good fit for the magazine show.  Of course she has experience with that format as years ago she co-hosted "Live on City Line," with some guy named Matt Lauer.  Whatever happened to him?

Condolences to WCAU news anchor Larry Mendte, whose mother Katherine Q. Mendte, 88, died last week of a stroke. 

Last Dance

This year's Mummers' Parade will be the final one on WPHL.  So far, no other station has put in a bid for the parade.