The parade of unknowns continues at Fox-owned WFLD-Channel 32.
Melody Mendez, host of "The Everyday Show" on KDVR-TV, the Fox affiliate in Denver, and Jake Hamilton, entertainment reporter at KRIV-TV, the Fox-owned station in Houston, are the latest imports headed for "Good Day Chicago."
Nothing is official yet, but Mendez is expected to sign on as an anchor for the bottom-rated news show, which airs from 4:30 to 10 a.m. weekdays. Hamilton is expected to be featured as a reporter on the show, a role currently held by Patrick Elwood.
It's unclear how the hiring of Mendez will affect the show’s four current anchors — Anna Davlantes, Corey McPherrin, Dawn Hasbrouck and newcomer Natalie Bomke. Also expected to join the "Good Day Chicago" mix is Jon Kelley, the former sports anchor at NBC-owned WMAQ-Channel 5, who most recently has been hosting mornings at KNTV-TV, the NBC station in San Francisco.
Mendez signed off Friday after three years at KDVR, telling fans on Twitter: "I can't say exactly where I'm going . . . yet! An announcement is coming soon!" The New England native and Boston University graduate previously worked for stations in Jackson, Tenn., Champaign, Ill., and Seattle.
Hamilton, a Seabrook, Texas, native who attended the University of Houston, began hosting the film review segment "Jake's Takes" in 2008 for KHOU-TV, the CBS affiliate in Houston. He shifted to KRIV in 2009. A note posted Friday on Hamilton's Facebook page about his hiring at Fox 32 subsequently disappeared.
So the dizzying makeover of the station goes on: Bob Sirott gets replaced by some guy from Wichita, Robin Robinson gets demoted publicly — and prematurely — by the CEO of Fox Television Stations, and Anna Davlantes and Corey McPherrin somehow have to make room for the second coming of Jon Kelley and a new cast of characters.
I've reached out numerous times to executives running the station to ask what they're thinking, but they're apparently under orders from New York not to talk to me. At least that's what I've been told.
Who are these guys?
Earlier this year, Dennis Welsh, the vice president and general manager just in from Orlando (and the station's third general manager in four years), delivered a haughty and patronizing lecture to viewers in the guise of an editorial about nepotism in Illinois. He did so while seated on a throne.
Leading the newsroom is Tom Doerr, the station's fourth news director in four years and a man whose numerous news management jobs never included one in Chicago. Just eight months after he came up from Houston (the same station that employed both Hamilton and Bomke), staffers say Doerr has so insulated himself that they've given up trying to communicate with him.
It's no wonder that Dominick Stasi just bailed out after only a year as executive producer of "Good Day Chicago" to become exec producer of both the 5 and 9 p.m. weekday newscasts at Tribune Broadcasting WGN-Channel 9 and oversee the newsroom at CLTV.
"Dominick is creative, thoughtful and a strong leader," WGN news director Greg Caputo said. "He's a team builder with lots of ideas and a vision for the future of our evening newscasts." Obviously, there's no place for a guy like that at Fox 32.
"Doerr thinks he can research his way out of every problem, and fancies himself to be smarter than everyone, but doesn't understand a thing about Chicago," one Fox 32 insider told me. "He directs the morning show people to focus entirely on 'solving women's problems.' He wants to make the newscast look and feel like the cover of Redbook — his actual example. It's generic and shallow and fake and not news.
"All the women in the newsroom say it's completely offensive to say busy women in Chicago only want to know 'how to blow out their hair perfectly,' 'get fuller eyebrows,' 'find the perfect fall shoes' or 'attract a man with the right smile.' That's not what people in this city have come to expect from a newscast. It'll never work."