Tampa Bay Media Tidbit #2
It's the kind of holiday spirit I've come to expect from TV executives after eight years watching the industry unfold: Brian Fasulo and Debra Schrils, the perky pair who host WFLA-Ch. 8's late morning chat show, Daytime, got pink slips in their Christmas stockings this year -- told the station wasn't renewing their contracts just before the holidays.
The move was a bit of a surprise, both because the show performs well in its post-Today show 10 a.m. timeslot (admittedly, against competition like Tony Danza, Martha and Judge Alex), and because it makes money. Of course, one reason this localized version of Regis and Kelly turns a profit is because some guests pay to be featured on the show.
Media General has long been planning to syndicate the show all its 22 stations, so this talent change may be a sign they're ready to get moving. It may also be a sign that general manager Eric Land, a staunch defender of Daytime who recently secured a job as chief operating officer of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, has left the building.
Rumors are flying about possible replacements, including Tampa real estate agent Melissa Holovach, who was the first person eliminated from the latest edition of NBC's Donald Trump vehicle, The Apprentice.
One question remains: How can replacing two people who helped build this local franchise for years with someone who was on national TV for 10 minutes make any sense? Maybe WFLA will be charging her for the priviledge of hosting the show.