More on Zoraida: CNN’s ‘American Morning’ beckons anchor

Robservations on the media beat:



  • Following former WMAQ-Channel 5 news anchors Robin Meade and Don Lemon, Zoraida Sambolin is on the path to stardom on CNN. As first reported here Thursday, the anchor of NBC 5 News Today is leaving the NBC-owned station after nine years to join CNN in New York. Sources at the network said she’s been hired as one of the anchor replacements for American Morning, the three-hour morning news show that’s been struggling in the ratings. The program has had at least four anchor teams in its 10 years on the air, according to TV Newser, which said the current version will be replaced with two two-hour blocks. CNN’s Soledad O’Brien (who previously co-hosted American Morning from 2003 to 2007) and ABC’s Ashleigh Banfield also have been mentioned as anchors of the new shows.



  • It’s over and out for Mancow Muller in the Big Apple. His Sunday night talk show on WABC-AM in New York was among the casualties of cutbacks Friday at the station under new owner Cumulus Media. Laurie Cantillo, program director of WABC, had nothing but praise for Muller, whom she hired in September 2010. “Mancow has a unique, high-energy approach that won him many fans in New York,” she told me. “I’ll never forget his powerful show from Ground Zero on the 10th anniversary of 9/11. He’s a pro and a friend, and I wish him the best.” Muller continues to host his Monday-through-Friday morning show for Talk Radio Network from Chicago.



  • Comedian Mark DeCarlo, a regular contributor to ABC 7’s Windy City LIVE, will host the 53rd annual Chicago/Midwest Emmy Awards November 6. This year’s ceremony will be at Alhambra Palace, 1240 West Randolph. Nominees are spread out over more than 60 categories and subcategories. With such an inflated definition of “excellence in television,” you could argue the event has more to do with making money for the Chicago/Midwest chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. Entry fees range from $95 to $210. Ads in the program book range from $40 for a three-line message to $400 for a full page. Tickets for the dinner range from $125 to $145 (not including cash bar). Of course, it’s always nice to take home a prize. Winners can purchase additional statuettes for $240 to $290.



  • It’s been a year since WGN-Channel 9 news anchor Mark Suppelsa stepped down from his side gig as morning newsman for the top-rated Eric and Kathy Show on Hubbard Radio hot adult-contemporary WTMX-FM (101.9). But he’ll be reunited with Eric Ferguson and Kathy Hart, filling in all this week for newsman Brian “Whip” Paruch. Says Suppelsa: “I spent the weekend preparing for this assignment . . . by searching for that old alarm clock that used to wake me up at this ungodly early hour.”



  • It’s great to hear Bill Leff regularly on WGN-AM (720) again. Now that Cubs baseball is in hibernation, the veteran Chicago actor, comedian and radio personality can be found most Saturdays from 1 to 4pm on the Tribune Co.-owned news/talk station. “The show is patterned after the classic television series The Big Valley,” Leff deadpanned. “I’m very much like the Barbara Stanwyck character. Yes, I talk pop culture, sports and politics, but all while trying to keep the ranch safe from cattle rustlers. Judy Pielach lost a bet, so she’s in there doing news for me. WGN’s research shows the program appeals primarily to flautists, second graders, and retired circus people.



  • From the time Fahey Flynn left WBBM-Channel 2 in 1968 until Bill Kurtis and Walter Jacobson were united in 1973, a revolving door of anchormen kept spinning at the CBS-owned station. Among those who passed through was Wayne Fariss, who died Friday in Lake Placid, Florida, at 82. Noted for his rich baritone and stoic delivery, and hailed as “as one of the most important and recognizable South Florida newscasters of the past 50 years,” Fariss enjoyed a 27-year run on Miami’s WCKT-TV (now WSVN-TV). He retired from broadcasting in 1984.



  • Third Chance was the charm: ABC 7 news anchor Ron Magers was the proudest thoroughbred breeder in town Saturday when Third Chance, the filly he owns with WLS-AM (890) afternoon personality Roe Conn, won the Powerless Handicap at Hawthorne Race Course. Magers posted a photo of the horse and a photo of the winning owners (with their trophy) on Twitter. Carrots and congratulations to all.



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