Caroline Lyders of Channel 12 is an attractive, talented and accomplished broadcast journalist. During her 2 ½-year tenure in Milwaukee, she has established herself as a favorite in the OnMilwaukee.com editorial offices.
That said, we were a bit perplexed when the "Milwaukee Talks" interview that managing editor Bobby Tanzilo did with Lyders back in November began to receive unusually heavy traffic during the recent holiday weekend.
It didn't take long to figure out why.
Lyders, the co-anchor of the weekday edition of WISN "12 News This Morning," has been romantically linked to singer Taylor Hicks, who became an international star after his victory on "American Idol" last year. The entertainment blogosphere was abuzz after what appeared to be photos of Lyders and Hicks lounging and canoodling on a beach in Hawaii were published on sites like splashnewsonline.com and TMZ.com. It didn't take long for Hicks' fans to identify the bikini-clad woman in the photos as Lyders and link to both her bio on the station Web site -- themilwaukeechannel.com -- and her interview with OMC.
"Yes, Taylor and I are friends," Lyders told Tanzilo Wednesday morning, "and as a journalist I respect your asking. But beyond that, I'd rather not comment on my personal life."
"I do not comment on my client's personal life," said Liz Morentin of Hicks' J Records label via e-mail.
People.com, which contacted OnMilwaukee.com for more clarification about a story that ran Wednesday afternoon, quoted an unnamed "friend" of Hicks' as saying, "I don't know about any new girlfriend. But I'm not surprised. Taylor always had girls
following him even before he ever became famous. ... He is a romantic when it comes to women, and he treats them with
respect. So to be seen out in public with this girl
makes me know that he likes her, because that's just how he is."
Hicks played the Pabst Theater in March, but doesn't have any scheduled gigs soon in Wisconsin. He is playing the Genesse Theatre in Waukegan, Ill. on July 12.
Additionally, the newly slimmed down 2006 Idol winner was named by People Magazine as America's "number one bachelor." The 30-year-old Alabama native released a self-titled debut album last December. Hicks also appeared on this year's "Idol" finale on May 23.
A runner-up in that year's competition, Chris Daughtry, plays Summerfest's Marcus Amphitheater on Friday, July 6.
Stay tuned to OnMilwaukee.com for further developments.