WTF Happened to Ginger Zee?

WTF Happened to Ginger Zee?

Here's a little bit of info that a lot of news directors rely on when it comes to replacing their on air talent. Unless it's a major change, like Fahey Flynn passing away(for all you old school channel 7 fans) , when they have a staff member leave and another come on board, it usually takes about a year for people to notice that there has actually been a change.  It's true, we don't actually mentally register that a new person is reading us the news for about a year (on average).

They shuffle around their schedules, see how people react, break them in slowly to the new audience.  Just about the time viewers truly realize that there has been a change, they are accustomed to the new person and life goes on.

Or the flip side, if the reaction is so awful (think back to Jon Kelley at NBC 5 Sports), they have the ability to boot the person, bring in a new on air personality and the cycle starts all over again. It's the on air equivalent of the "shell game."

In October, Channel 5 meteorologist Ginger Zee's contract ran out and she headed off to brighter pastures in the form of Good Morning America, more money and a great opportunity!  She had been making occasional appearances on NBC’s Today since early last year, once you get a taste of network TV, it's hard to turn back.  GMA, is the major leagues of TV news, so the jump makes sense.

Despite being friendly with Ginger (named after the Gilligan's Island Character) I only noticed that she was gone in December of last year while I was watching Channel 5 and thought, "man Ginger must be doing something different, she looks amazing!"

NOTE- If you have ever met Ginger Zee in person, she is pretty darn good looking.  One of my favorite "Chicago media moments" was three years ago, when we both were scheduled for a kayak lesson together.  Zee showed up in a jog bra, hoodie and shorts.  If GMA would let her wear that on the air, the ratings war would be over!

Anyway, as I was half watching, it took me until the 5  day forecast to realize that Ginger wasn't in fact Ginger, but Cheryl Scott of NBC affiliate WBIR-TV in Knoxville, Tennessee.

Kudos to Debra Juarez, NBC-5 news director for hiring a meteorologist who fills out a wrap dress as good as or better than Zee!   It ain't easy to do!  The similarities between the two are not subtle.

Despite being very "camera friendly" Scott has some pretty good experience to back up her pretty face, she's a 2007 graduate of Brown University, previously worked at WSEE-TV in Erie, Pennsylvania, before joining WBIR as weekend meteorologist in 2009. She began as an intern at NBC-owned WCAU-TV in Philadelphia.

On top of all of that Scott jumped from Knoxville, which is television market #72, with a population of 684,000 people, to Chicago, market #3 and 7 million plus people.

Normally, an on air personality goes from Knoxville to Kansas City(market 33), Kansas City to Tampa(market 13), Tampa to Chicago.

Juarez should leave her job as news director and work for the Cubs as a minor league scout.  Finding someone with looks, brains and talent in a tiny market like Knoxville( which is the Indian word for "No Starbucks"), Juarez is is able to move Scott up to the big leagues, more than likely pay her  less than what Zee was making, but much more than she was making in Knoxvegas and have an employee who is really happy to be here. It's like finding an 8th grade pitcher that can throw 110, is a lefty and has a mean breaking ball.

If you want your dose of Ginger Zee, flip on GMA during the weekends and she will be right there for you to enjoy.  Locally, Cheryl Scott is the new kid in town and after watching her, then listening to her, she is a great addition to the NBC 5 team and Chicago broadcast community.


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  • Apparently (1) you don't read Feder, and (2) you missed Zee's (Zed in Canada) farewell tour. You probably don't also know that Zee's lookalike Paul Farris and Zoraida Sambolin are also gone. Of course, Stafford and Rosati are still there, according to promos, although nobody is watching them.

  • C'mon, all of us who adjust the rabbit ears, know that Tom Skilling, with all those sensual isobars, is the real weather hottie.

  • Nice reporting, homey. I didn't know about the news anchor shuffling game you spoke of, but now that I think about it, I have noticed it. Good work, Dave.

  • I'm not sure there's anything brilliant about what you described. It's not that difficult to replace a person who has left with someone who's a copy, whether it's a visual copy (as in this case where looks matter) or a performance-based one. I know because I've managed staff for 20 years and have had the challenge over and over and over.

  • Soooo, after going the LONG WAY around the barn, in conclusion, boys and girls, what the author is saying here is that sex sells.

  • Heh ... brilliant: "Knoxville (which is the Indian word for "No Starbucks")"

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    In reply to BrendanTripp:

    Why do you find this to be brilliant? Are you from Knoxville, or do you live in Knoxville? I am, and I do. We have several Starbucks coffee shops here, so this writer is actually just perpetuating a stereotype of a city about which he (and, evidently, YOU) knows nothing.

  • In reply to Jim Wayland:

    Just found this blog post and as a West Tennessean who lived in Oak Ridge and Knoxville, I was offended. I guess the reader doesn't realize that some of the best scientific minds are in this area of the country. Bless his heart as a true southern girl I'll forgive his faux pas.

  • Welcome one and all to the Cheryl Scott fan club. During the holidays I was tuned in every weekday at 5,6 & 10 to Channel 5 for the weather forecast and I NEVER watch the network stations.

    It was almost too much having Allison Rosatti AND Ms.Scott on the same broadcast.

    We'd better enjoy Cheryl because you can bet that NY and LA are already calling.....

    BTW, I'm also lamenting the loss of Paula Faris to NY.

  • Simply put: the article is sexist and piggish. It objectifies two female professionals and mocks their talents because they have breasts. That speaks, I suppose, to the analytical ability of the writer. Such sexism belongs in no forum, even one as Mickey Mouse as this.

  • In reply to journalistgrrl:

    If anyone is objectifying it's the stations for only hiring a certain type of woman, namely one who will appeal to male sports fans. Don't think David was in any way mocking their talents, he very clearly wrote Cheryl Scott had "looks, brains and talent."

    Some stations have made looks an issue by making good looks a job requirement.

  • In reply to Jimmy Greenfield:

    Even back in my day, you either had the face for TV or the face for radio. Seems just part of the gig.

  • In reply to journalistgrrl:

    Lighten up journalist girl! Blame the news station management. Why do you think they hire young, hot looking girls?

    Look at FNC and Fox Business Channel--you think they hire attractive women because of brains--no it's their looks stupid! Their ratings blow every other channel away.

  • In reply to journalistgrrl:

    If they were fat and ugly or both, they wouldn't be there. Sorry, that's the reality. If they weren't also talented, they wouldn't have the job either. Basically, it's the whole package with these two. Who was mocking anyone by the way? Puhlease.

  • In reply to journalistgrrl:

    Don't be mean. If anything is sexist it is your moniker. This is a Pulitzer quality article, and bitter people like you try to take the wind out of the sails of good writers. Instead of bothering people on the internet shave your legs and your pits and get out and mix a little.

  • So journalistgrrl, how many Mickey Mouse forums do read anyway?

  • My wife and I were watching the Friday, 1/6/12 newscast and Cheryl Scott-- can you find it on You Tube? Something about her outfit was not working that day; somewhat like the Seinfeld where Elaine sends out the holiday card. I was on the phone with a friend, who turned it on and he saw it too.

    Personally, Uncle Andy (Avalos) is my guy. He is usually right on with his forecast.

    Although, I still am reminded of Ginger when I'm taking out trash. She's very ecofriendly and hates plastic!!! But she reuses plastic drycleaning bags by tieing a knot on one end of the bag and using the bag as a garbage bag.

    Sad that I am reminded of Ginger when I empty trash around my house, but I found it to be a nifty little trick.

  • I think I'd be a nervous wreck if I worked for local news channels. Always hiring and firing. I remember back in the 90's (the Jon Kelly days) when every time you turned on the news there was a change in personnel. (Whatever happened to Jon BTW? He reappeared on an entertainment show for a while there...)

  • In reply to Expat in Chicago:

    I think hes on Ch.7 now

  • No matter when I would see Ginger Zee do the weather, there always seemed to be a warm front advancing on my map.

  • "Kudos to Debra Juarez, NBC-5 news director for hiring a meteorologist who fills out a wrap dress as good as or better than Zee!"

    No sir, kudos to you for writing this article. For shining the light on just what it takes to be respected as a woman in a professional industry. 78 cents for every dollar you make AND quality objectification like this? Grab me my jog bra and hoodie -- it's great to be a woman!

  • In reply to chi80:

    It is so refreshing to hear this. I was worried people would be angry, especially uptight lady people. Cool on you. How bout we d drinks, yo.

  • Free Mustache Rides

  • Come on bro, that is so old school. Free mustache rides went out with Camaro's and fuzzy dice. You gotta shake off the past if you want the ladies in the new millenium. This is sexist yo, and it ruins the chances stallions like me have with the ladies. Lay low, bro, be cool fool, I leave you the scraps jack, just don't come back.

  • I always thought Ginger looked and sounded great. And she's a good person.

    No need for a 2.0. Women should never shed their curves for national TV. Amy Freeze didn't.

  • Sorry Chicago, Evelyn Taft of KCAL9/CBS2 in Los Angeles is the creme of the crop when it comes to "weathergirls"!

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    Dude, you wouldn't happen to have a picture of Ginger in that outfit you described? Something for all us to remember her by.

  • I ran into Fahey Flynn walking around downtown Chicago years ago. Haven't thought of him in years.

  • Aquinas wired's observation made me laugh out loud.

  • Debra Juarez had nothing to do with hiring Cheryl Scott. They both joined NBC 5 at the same time. You really should be reading my blog, David.

  • In reply to Robert Feder:

    Rob, you have a blog? Thanks for reading.

  • For someone who says they are a fan you dont seem to have that much interest. I was there when they announced her leaving and introduced Cheryl Scott.

  • Also, I thought she was working for ESPN, because I could swear I saw her on there a few weeks ago!

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    In reply to mikechi59:

    It's possible, considering that ESPN and ABC are both owned by Disney.

  • How much did NBC pay you to write that? Cheryl Scott is no Ginger Zee, either physically or professionally. She looks like she is still in school. That photoshopped picture you printed is a farce. She may be one day, but she isn't there yet.

  • Paula Faris now is on ABC's World News Now in the early morning hours, in case you'd like to write about that three months later, too.

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    Along with several Starbucks coffee shops here in Knoxville, Tennessee, we also have an expression: "Go fuck yourself." Loosely translated, that means "Go fuck yourself."

  • In reply to Jim Wayland:

    Jim, spoken like a true person from Knoxville. You just proved my point. I lived and worled down there for 20 years and up until about 7 years ago there wasn't a Starbucks. So get the chip off your shoulder, learn how to properly comment on a blog without using profanity and enjoy your coffee.

  • Please! tell Cheryl Scott to leave this city. She is the worst meteorologist in town and also the meanest person in Chicago. Shhe is boring, mean, ignorant, and pest who doesnt know what she is doing and is not a real meteorologist with no AMS/CBM and the only reason she got hired is because NBC was depesrate to find a replacement for Ginger. NBC should of either put Pete Sack or Alicia Roman and let Pete do the weather more often like Mon-fri newscasts.

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