Monday, July 29, 2013

Darieth, don't go! When a local news lovely leaves

Recriminations flew. People wondered who was to blame and if something couldn’t have been done to prevent the split.

And we all wondered who was going to get the kids.

The kids in this case being me, the guys in the bar and the hundreds of thousands of other viewers who have become attached to Darieth Chisolm, nightly news anchor for WPXI-TV here in Pittsburgh.

The station announced last week that she’d be departing after 20 years. 

I’ve seen the guys in the bar show less intense emotion regarding the dissolution of once-vital marriages.

Their own!

We really love Darieth.

Why is she forsaking us?

Conspiracy theories abound. I’m omitting names of the accused because this isn’t a court of law and because the accusers had absolutely no idea what they were talking about and because they were mostly Happy Hour tipsy.

“I saw it coming,” said one of the Joes. “One of her co-anchors made some crack about her hair. You should have seen the look she gave him. I knew then it was over.”

Another guy said she was unhappy that the weather guys are devouring the newscast. This is credible. Local weather is now about 40 percent of the entire 22 minute newscasts. It’s incredibly detailed.

Apparently Bob Dylan was wrong. We do now need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows.

For her part, Darieth is saying she has other interests and wants to spend time with her family.

I believe her. She’s never lied to me before.

When she said the Squirrel Hill Tunnels outbound would be closed on for the weekend, by God, they were closed!

I remain fascinated by the grasp the local news personalities have on our lives. The on-air talent, especially the females, have to be visually appealing and appear composed when saying things like, “ . . . and now it’s time for Jeff and the sports!”

Chisolm, dubbed one of the city’s most beautiful people by Pittsburgh Magazine, was described by one media reporter as “classy” and “poised,” two adjectives I did not hear mentioned by my admiring bar friends.

No, they described this accomplished professional woman in the same terms that local forecasters use when predicting the onset of an intense high pressure system. They said she was hot and steamy.

I wonder if the woman seeking to fill Chisolm’s anchor chair would ever think to include those meteorological-sounding adjectives on their resumes. Or does a really sexy glamour shot suffice?

It must be tricky for the men -- and I’m supposing they’re mostly men -- who do the hiring in broadcast news.

They can’t really say animal sex appeal is a key factor in their decision when it must be foremost.

Because they understand that men like my friends and I will stare at the television to watch a beautiful, busty woman tell us there’s a water main break in Bridgeville more willingly than we’ll watch a homely gal or any man inform us Jesus Christ is back.

But hiring, say, a stripper would be considered tasteless and might alienate the large percentage of home viewers who look to the local newscast as the surrogate family who are in many cases preferable to their actual families.

Their actual families may be dull, impaired by prescription drugs and surly at supper. Sure, our chipper on-air families are just as likely to be all those things, too, but they are gifted with an essential ability to conceal it when the lights come on.

That’s why local news people are so fascinating. Nationals, too.

We all wonder just what these people are really like.

Is Matt Lauer as big a jerk as we suspect? (probably). Does Megyn Kelly have a soft side? (doubtful). And is luscious Robin Meade, she who cheerfully toils in morning Headline News cable anonymity, really as dynamic and vivacious as appears? (Yes! Yes! Yes!).

Robin, we love you!

You, too, Darieth!

We wish you all the best and want you to know you’re always be welcome in all our homes and taverns where ever superficial men like me gather.

Just be sure to build in a little extra time for any east-bound visit.

I hear the Squirrel Hill Tunnel outbounds are closed.

Related . . .