OnMedia: Lance Hill says goodbye to his viewers
One of the cold facts of broadcasting is that people who are a familiar presence in our homes sometimes disappear without any explanation to the viewers.
It happened to Channel 12 weekend weathercaster Lance Hill, who signed off for the last time nearly two weeks ago.
"Ten years of building relationships, and they couldn't afford 10 seconds to say goodbye," says Hill. "Literally, I said that to my news director."
But he was told not to refer to his departure in his final forecast.
I sat down with Hill on Thursday afternoon to talk about his departure from Milwaukee's ABC affiliate.
"I think the position, overall, just ran its course. Weather is something that will always be a part of my life. That's what got me into television. But the position was changing into more of a general assignment reporter, and doing more reporting than actual weather.
"Not that there's anything wrong with being a general assignment reporter, but that just wasn't why I was in TV.
"It was definitely a mutual decision," he said of his departure. "They asked me flat out, 'This is the job, we want somebody who wants to do that, are you happy with that?'"
And Hill thought of another season of excessive Stormageddon coverage of winter weather.
"Looking ahead to this winter, did I really want to stand outside in the snow and cold and tell people it's cold and snowy when they can look out there and know that? And the answer is no."
So he left Nov. 29, at the end of his contract.
Jan Wade, the general manager of Channel 12, offered this statement on Hill's departure:
"We appreciate all of Lance's contributions to Weather Watch 12 in his years at the station. We wish him well."
Hill says he's not leaving town, although he's not pursuing any other TV weather jobs. He's working on job possibilities that he can't talk about on the record.
But he's committed to staying here. His wife, Lisa, is from the area and they want the couple's two children, 7-year-old Kyleigh and 4-year-old Dominic to grow up here.
So, he's not saying goodbye to southeast Wisconsin, really. He's just moving into something new.
His abrupt departure was brought into focus Tuesday night, when he was out shoveling the first round of this week's snow.
"The snow plow driver stops right in front of my driveway, big city plow truck," says Hill. "Rolls down the window, he says, 'So, what the heck happened? Where are you going?'"
On TV: It's now official. George Stephanopoulos takes Diane Sawyer's "Good Morning America" anchor spot starting Monday, with Sawyer going to "ABC World News" Dec. 21, to replace retiring Charlie Gibson, who anchors his last newscast on Dec. 18.
- ABC has cut one episode each from the remaining run of "V" and "Flash Forward," when they return to the schedule in March, but at least they'll be back.
- FX says the fantasy football comedy "The League" will return this summer.
- The Los Angeles Times blogs the sad news that there won't be a third season of "Flight of the Conchords" on HBO.
- If you missed Wednesday night's "Top Chef" finale, Michael Voltaggio beat his brother, Bryan, in Bravo's "reality" cooking show.
- Variety says MTV's "It's On with Alexa Chung" will end after its Dec. 17 second season finale.
A memorable holiday performance: With Hanukkah starting this evening, there aren't many viewing choices tied to the Jewish Festival of Lights.
But there's always Adam Sandler's "Hanukkah Song," which he popularized on NBC's "Saturday Night Live."
For the record, Andy Potos was general manager of Channel 6, Jill Geisler was news director. Geisler never "took over" the station from Potos.
the broadcast industry always works this way.. Look what they did to John Gardner and Eddie Matthews . New Mgrs com in and change things around .. I dont listen to WRIT any more... Channel 6 has gone to hell since Andy Potus left. Jill Guisler took over and it went down hill. Channel 12 is doing the same thing.. Look at Joyce Garbasiak, she so called retired and went to 12.. Its a cut throat industry..
Sorry to hear about Lance. I miss seeing him on the weekends. I have to switch the channel now with the new weatherman. He reminds me too much of that character on Seinfeld "the sidler" especially when he smiles.
Yep, Michael - the winner of Top Chef - is on the right. I thought this time the show rocked - I really had a good time watching unlike some of the previous seasons.
I wondered what happened to Lance Hill! Good luck, Lance - you're a nice guy and I'll miss you on Ch 12. I hope whatever it is you decide to do makes you happy and it's wonderful to hear you and your family are staying here to raise your children!
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