CBS Atlanta is introducing two new personalities for "Better Mornings Atlanta" after the departure of Brandon Rudat.
The two newbies are both graduates of Georgia colleges. They are consumer reporter Annalee Penny (from KTXL-TV in Sacramento who graduated from the University of West Georgia) and traffic reporter Stefan Chase (a Spelman grad who last worked at a Los Angeles station). "Better Mornings" is still seeking a male host. The other two main components of the show are Tracye Hutchins (the lone survivor from the early days when Dagmar Midcap and Mike Brooks were there.) and meteorologist Jennifer Valdez.
It's also starting 30 minutes earlier, launching at 4:30 a.m. Channel 2 Action News, 11 Alive and Fox 5 have been opening the news day at 4:30 a.m. the past couple of years.
"Fastest growing area of television news viewership is in the morning," said General Manager Trey Fabacher. He also wanted to start the refurbished morning show in time for school starting, when there's a juncture point where people's habits might be more open to change.
Ratings in recent years have improved at CBS Atlanta in early mornings but still usually lags behind the other three affiliates.
Majic 1075./97.5, the recent No. 1 station in the market in June, is going for a little celebrity guest promotion while mid-day host Carol Blackmon is on vacation including two former TV reporters, a former TV judge and a TV reality star. They will be heard from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m each day.
"Most of these people are friends of the station," said Derek Harper, program director. "The features Carol normally does will be the same. But I don't want them to be radio personalities. They have to be themselves and will have carte blanche to do their thing."
The four who will be taking over are:
Monday August 12th--TV Anchor/singer/actor - JaQuitta Williams. She was recently let go from CBS Atlanta. "I'm excited about kicking things," she texted me. "I've done radio before but not quite like this. I will add my own style and personality to the show. I like to laugh and have fun. That's what I hope listeners will do with me Monday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m."
Tuesday August 13th--"R&B Divas Atlanta" star and executive producer/former Brownstone member/entrepreneur - Nicci Gilbert. "Radio was my first love," she emailed me today. She said she has done guest hosting stints at the classic R&B station WBLS in NYC and MIX in Detroit.
Wednesday August 14th-- Legendary TV Anchor - Monica Pearson. Since she retired last year from Channel 2 Action News, she has been working on a masters in journalism at UGA and told me today she had her first job in high school in Louisville, Ky on radio reading prayers on a religious prgoram and doing voice-over openings for a DJ. Otherwise, this will be her first time DJing a shift. "I always like trying new things," she said. "But in a way, I'm going back to my roots." Once she gets out of school, as early as December, she will be seeking a new job, perhaps in radio. She loves R&B music and tries to keep current. "I still watch '106 & Park,' " she said. She loves Usher and Mary J. Blige. Plus, she (like the rest of America) is hot for Robin Thicke's "Blurred Lines."
Thursday August 15th-- former TV judge/a CNN Legal Roundtable analyst/youth advocate and philanthropist - Judge Glenda Hatchett. Her show "Judge Hatchett" ran from 2000 to 2008. Bounce TV runs repeats.
Jim Stacy, the PBA host for "Get Delicious," recently nabbed a judging gig on the new Destination America network called "Deep Fried Masters," which he calls "Chopped" for fried food. The show debuted on Monday and his bigger-than-life personality drew the attention of Jay Leno's bookers.
So he is now in Los Angeles, scheduled to tape a 10-minute cooking segment with Leno that will air at 11:35 p.m. tonight on "The Tonight Show" on NBC. (His bit will likely air around 12:20 a.m.)
He plans to cook his bananas foster corn dog, a fried cinnamon roll and a fried pickle corndog.
Stacy, in an interview, said he's not that nervous: "I've transcended nervousness."
And Leno is known to make his guests feel comfortable. "I've done standup comedy for yaars. I know how Leno is and how he works. It's an honor for sure. And surreal." And he is a car buff - just like Leno, so they'll have that to talk about.
Stacy has been approached by at least a dozen different production companies to do a reality show. Most of them involve following him around "Duck Dynasty" style. But he said no. He wanted to do a reality competition show. "I love fried food," he said. "This gets my foot in the door. I hope to do other stuff, too."
He is not exclusive to Destination America and is still pitching other ideas.
UPDATE: Here's a clip from "The Tonight Show." Mmm... bacon whipped cream! "I'm only living once," he tells Leno as he gives him a fried corn-dog battered banana with said whipped cream, dark chocolate, salted caramel and bacon bits..
Here's part two with a "vegetarian" option: a fried pickle. Jason Sudeikis joins in on the fun. And Stacey shows off his tempura-battered cinnamon bun. (Calorie count: "something thousands.") And as Sudeikis says, "Wash it down with whiskey!"