By Tim Cuprisin Media Columnist Published Dec 11, 2009 at 11:00 AM
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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."

Tim Cuprisin Media Columnist

Tim Cuprisin is the media columnist for He's been a journalist for 30 years, starting in 1979 as a police reporter at the old City News Bureau of Chicago, a legendary wire service that's the reputed source of the journalistic maxim "if your mother says she loves you, check it out." He spent a couple years in the mean streets of his native Chicago, and then moved on to the Green Bay Press-Gazette and USA Today, before coming to the Milwaukee Journal in 1986.

A general assignment reporter, Cuprisin traveled Eastern Europe on several projects, starting with a look at Poland after five years of martial law, and a tour of six countries in the region after the Berlin Wall opened and Communism fell. He spent six weeks traversing the lands of the former Yugoslavia in 1994, linking Milwaukee Serbs, Croats and Bosnians with their war-torn homeland.

In the fall of 1994, a lifetime of serious television viewing earned him a daily column in the Milwaukee Journal (and, later the Journal Sentinel) focusing on TV and radio. For 15 years, he has chronicled the changes rocking broadcasting, both nationally and in Milwaukee, an effort he continues at

When he's not watching TV, Cuprisin enjoys tending to his vegetable garden in the backyard of his home in Whitefish Bay, cooking and traveling.