Joining WFLD-Channel 32 these days is a lot like entering the Witness Protection Program. Sometimes you even change your name.
The Fox-owned station this week announced the hiring of “Kristen Nicole” to anchor the Saturday and Sunday editions of “Good Day Chicago,” starting March 28. The seat has been occupied by a revolving cast since the two-hour weekend show debuted January 30.
A Google search revealed a Kristen Nicole as a Playboy Playmate (Miss May 2013, to be precise), but I couldn’t find any TV anchors or reporters who matched that name.
It turns out that this Kristen Nicole is actually Kristen Pflum, 33, an anchor and reporter at WLEX, the NBC affiliate in Lexington, Kentucky. Nicole is her middle name, but she’s never used it as a last name before.
I guess we should consider her arrival a parting gift to Chicago from Tom Doerr, who’s on his way out after three miserable years as news director at Fox 32.
“Kristen’s strong storytelling abilities and passion for journalism will be a tremendous asset to our morning newscast,” Doerr said in a statement Monday. Knowing Doerr’s track record, I’m sure it had to be Kristen's strong storytelling abilities and passion for journalism that led him to hire her.
A native of Indianapolis and graduate of DePauw University in Greencastle, Indiana, Kristen began as an intern at WBBH, the NBC affiliate in Ft. Myers, Florida, and later worked as a reporter at WISE, the NBC affiliate in Fort Wayne, Indiana.
I didn’t get an answer when I asked Kristen for clarification about her name change. But in response to a viewer welcoming her to Chicago, she tweeted: “Can’t wait to get up there!”