Phantom of the Opera film star Patrick Wilson, his family and friends raised $54,900 in a concert to benefit Florida hurricane victims Monday night at Ruth Eckerd Hall.
The program had a Broadway flavor, with Wilson singing numbers from musicals he has been in, such as Breeze Off the River from The Full Monty, Soliloquy from Carousel, Oh, What a Beautiful Morning from Oklahoma! and But Not for Me from Fascinating Rhythm.
He was joined in a Phantom medley by another Broadway performer, Sarah Berry, who also sang On My Own from Les Miserables and If I Loved You from Carousel.
Other Wilsons on the bill included Patrick's parents, Channel 13 news anchor John and Mary K. Wilson, singing Love Changes Everything from Aspects of Love. Oldest brother Paul sang Summer Wind and other Frank Sinatra songs. As emcee Mark Wilson, also a Channel 13 news anchor, said, "You're not born into the Wilson family without a microphone in your hand." Attendance was 1,594.
WFTS news director resigns
to take new job in Wisconsin
TAMPA _ The news director for WFTS-Ch. 28 announced Monday he's resigning to take a job as vice president of news operations for NBC TV stations in Milwaukee and Green Bay.
Bill Berra, 53, joined WFTS in 2001 and presided over high-profile investigative scoops, most notably corruption in Tampa's housing department and problems with the Tampa-Hillsborough Expressway Authority's construction over the Lee Roy Selmon Crosstown Expressway.
"He guided our coverage during an extremely busy year, with the Lightning winning the Stanley Cup and the hurricanes," said Bill Carey, WFTS vice president and general manager. "We got a lot of good credit for the work that was done, and that was his direction."
It's the station's second departure in the past month from the investigative team, which Berra oversaw. In December, Mike Mason, one of the station's two investigative reporters, left amid complaints from Hillsborough County school officials about his aggressive reporting.
"The station got a lot of flak for Mike's style and tone," Carey said. "But Bill was able to guide our ship very steadily through all that."
Berra said he was approached recently by Journal Communications, a broadcast company owned by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. One of the stations it owns, the NBC station in Milwaukee, is where Berra started out 30 years ago, he said.
"I'm going back to my journalistic roots," Berra said Monday. "We've always kept in touch. They liked the style of news we put on, so they gave me an offer I couldn't refuse."
Berra said his last day at WFTS will be in early February. Carey said the station will search nationwide for a replacement. In the meantime, Dave Ciliberti, the assistant news director, will be acting news director. Ciliberti is considered a strong candidate for the job.