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Enthusiastic "Wake Up!" anchor comes from MAD school of talk

By Alan Pergament

At the start of her inaugural broadcast on Channel 4's "Wake Up!" Tuesday morning, co-anchor Teresa Weakley described herself in a way I could never have done.

After saying she was excited to be up early in the morning, Weakley added, "I'm trying to stay perky here."

Katie Couric hated being described as "perky." A male critic can't use the word in a review of a female anchor without appearing to be condescending.

But since Weakley brought it up, I feel it is acceptable to say she succeeded in being very perky Tuesday morning.

She also smiles a lot and is enthusiastic, comfortable, friendly, attractive (this is TV after all), young, louder than any alarm clock and as talkative as any anchor in the market.

She was so talkative I wonder why she apparently pretended not to hear me a month or so ago when I called her at her former Youngstown, Ohio station to confirm she was hired by Channel 4. After all, it was an opportunity to talk and she doesn't seem like the type who would turn down any opportunity
to talk.

Weakley seemed to be channeling WGRZ-TV's Maryalice Demler (MAD) as she often followed stories or comments from colleagues or interview subjects by adding her two cents.

When a man said he witnessed a woman crying after an airplane crash scare, Weakley told the audience: "I would have been crying, too."

After Gordon Scherer gave his traffic report, Weakley said, "it's good to see that green. That's a good sign for the traffic map, not necessarily good for the weather map." Then she giggled.

When meteorologist Todd Santos briefly forgot to mention her name, Weakley told him: "Don't forget about me. I know it's my first day.”

When a report aired about swimmer Diana Nyad's successful swim from Cuba to Key West, Weakley replied, "just imagine how many sore muscles she has."

Later she added of the difference between her and Nyad post-swim was: "I would be in bed."

You get the point. Weakley wants to be involved in the news.

She appears to have come from the Blonde School of Broadcasting that churns out hundreds of similar models each year.

She isn't the only new relatively new female anchor in the market who likes to talk. Channel 2's Kelly Dudzik also likes to add her two cents, though she often makes less sense than Weakley.

As I watched Weakley's performance on my DVR Tuesday, I couldn't help but think about how much Channel 4 has changed after its Extreme Morning Makeover in the past year.

The show has put together an entirely new cast in Weakley, co-anchor Jordan Williams and meteorologist Todd Santos to compete with Channel 2's first place "Daybreak” with John Beard, Melissa Holmes and Andy Parker.

And as it has done so often recently, Channel 4 seems to be borrowing from Channel 2's playbook by having its new team try to be more friendly and more involved in the news so the audience can relate more.

After Williams introduced Weakley Tuesday, she noted that she has had a crazy three years, having met her husband, married and having a one-year-old daughter.

"I'm sure I’ll be talking about that as we go along here," she added.

I'm sure she will.

I'm not sure how Williams fits in with the extreme makeover.  He is a pretty straight shooter, the kind of serious anchor Channel 4 viewers have come to expect over the years. It will be interesting over the next several weeks to see if Williams and Weakley can develop any chemistry as she talks away. On this morning's broadcast, she appeared to interrupt Williams once in the middle of a sentence and he quickly replied "exactly" to her comment.

Right now, I'd tell Weakley to stop shouting, which she has a tendency to do on occasion when she changes her voice inflection when reading stories. 

After all, we're already watching and don't need someone to get us up. Besides her voice can be a little high-pitched for the morning and may take some time to get used to hearing.

But once Weakley takes the perky down a notch, I'm pretty sure things will go much more swimmingly.



Television | TV news
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About Talkin' TV

Alan Pergament

Alan Pergament

Alan Pergament has continued to blog about television topics since retiring in 2010 as The News' television writer after 28 years on the beat. From local on-air personalities to ratings to the latest on network and cable programming, he keeps you informed.

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