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.