The Grab Bag: Mark, Mancow, Mr. Sunshine, and more

Another person has left Fox-owned WFLD’s news department: It’s Mark Saxenmeyer, who’s been with the station since 1993. The reporter’s contract with the station expires in a few weeks, and is not being renewed. Also likely on the way out is meteorologist Amy Freeze, whose contract expires in February. Sources say her replacement is Tammie Souza, whose was meteorologist at WFLD from 2006-08 and was at WMAQ for six years prior. Souza left WFLD to become meteorologist at Gannett-owned WTSP in Tampa-St. Petersburg, but announced her departure from the CBS affiliate last week to return to Chicago. If she returns to WFLD, she would the second new weather person to join the station in many weeks – earlier, WFLD hired Bill Bellis away from ABC affiliate KNXV in Phoenix (where the weather is much nicer right now.)

And here’s another person coming to WFLD – but as a talk show host. CNN anchor Anderson Cooper launches his new talk show next fall, and it has been cleared on WFLD and two other Fox stations – KTTV in Los Angeles and WFXT in Boston, with Tribune’s WPIX clearing the talk show in New York. Look for Cooper’s talk show to land in an afternoon slot either leading into or out of Dr. Oz. Good luck to Coop – he’ll need it – because outside of access and prime-time, WFLD (and sister station WPWR) are Chicago’s television versions of Siberia whose name isn’t Ion or WJYS.

Erich “Mancow” Mueller is changing the format of his syndicated radio show to focus more on entertainment than politics in a story posted at Chicagoland Radio and Media’s website Monday. The struggling program – lacking clearances in top markets (including Chicago) – is being renamed The Mancow Experience and expected to somewhat resemble his old show at WKQX-FM, where he was from 1998-2006. The program will features actors, musicians, and wrestlers (of course). TRN and Dial Global continue to handle station sales for Mancow’s show.

ABC has finally slated the much-talked about Matthew Perry sitcom project Mr. Sunshine, which debuts Feb. 9 at 8:30 p.m. (CT) after Modern Family, replacing Cougar Town until April 6. In Sunshine, Perry is a manager of a San Diego sports facility who can’t deal with turning 40. This program is not related to an earlier ABC sitcom of the same name, which replaced Diff’rent Strokes on the net’s Friday Night lineup in 1986 with Jeffrey Tambor (Arrested Development, The Larry Sanders Show) as a blind university professor. The series lasted exactly two months – about as long as this Mr. Sunshine is expected to last, if not sooner.

And oh yeah, speaking of Dr. Oz, his show is under fire from Nurses’ associations for what may be classified as a Jump the Shark moment. During a segment of his show in November, Oz featured a guest who lost weight by dancing (and no, she’s NOT Ellen DeGeneres.) So in order to demonstrate, Oz brought five dancers to the stage dressed in nurses’ costumes and performed **ahem**, a dance routine in front of the audience (guess that new health care bill is already paying dividends!) From their standpoint, Nurses organizations called the segment “demoralizing” and is demanding an apology from the show, which Dr. Oz did through a statement.

Boy, I can’t wait to get sick…

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