The local television community has been buzzing with enough rumors to gag an editor from The National Enquirer. For example:
- KUTV IS FOR SALE! That's what one reputable source told me. But KUTV president Jeff Hatch insists that that's just not so."We have no plans to sell KUTV period," Hatch said Tuesday morning. "Someone may be confused by the fact that we are selling our stations in Kansas (the Kansas State Network, with five stations in Wichita and Topeka). But the Hatch family has owned the station since 1956, and there are no plans to change that ownership."
That sounds final, if you ask me.
- DON OLSEN IS LEAVING KSL! Further, I heard he has accepted a big-bucks offer to do public relations work for Jon Huntsman.
Not exactly true, Olsen says. At least, not yet.
"I have had an offer from Huntsman," the Ch. 5 anchor/reporter confirmed, "but I am committed to stay at KSL through the elections."
Olsen, KSL's "political specialist" and a weekend news anchor, was offered the job before Huntsman dropped out of the race for the Republican gubernatorial nomination, according to KSL News director Spence Kinard.
"If Huntsman had remained in the race it would have put us in a difficult position ethically," Kinard said. But with Huntsman now out of the political spotlight and with no firm contractual offer pending between Huntsman and Olsen, Kinard said he's comfortable sticking with Olsen through the election season.
But after that? Well, let's look at it from Olsen's perspective. Dick Nourse will be KSL's top male news anchor until the station's news ratings freeze over. And Bruce Lindsay seems clearly established as the station's anchor of the future. So it looks like Olsen's 15 years with the station (not counting three years in Washington as Sen. Jake Garn's communications director) have taken him about as far as he's going to go here. Why not change especially if Huntsman's dangling the big bucks in front of him?
- STEVE CYPHERS IS LEAVING KSL! The fact is, sportsman Cyphers has already left the station but it isn't permanent, as far as Kinard is concerned.
"Steve is riding a bike across the United States," Kinard said. "He and his wife wanted to do it, and since he didn't have enough vacation time coming to him to make the trip, we agreed to let him take a leave of absence without pay."
But Cyphers is due to return to KSL June 15. "We're planning on him," Kinard said, "but we won't know for sure until he gets back from his trip."
- MARGARET SMOOT IS LEAVING KSL! (Do we sense a trend developing here?) Only this rumor is completely, totally, undeniably true.
"It is with deep regret that I announce the resignation of Margaret Smoot as our director of creative services," said KSL chief William R. Murdoch in a memo circulated at the station Tuesday. "She is an extremely talented woman and has many things she wants to do and new directions she wants to take."
Smoot, a one-time KSL reporter and news anchor who has been working in station management for the past two years, was unavailable for comment at press time. But word is she plans to pursue a career as a freelance writer.
Smoot will remain at the station until June 1, at which time Jim Monroe will take over as KSL's marketing director and Maggie St. Claire will be the new public affairs supervisor. (You know you're good when they have to pick two people to take over your job when you leave.)
- "JEOPARDY" IS MOVING TO UTAH! Not quite. What's happening is 275 Utahns have been invited to try out for the popular syndicated game show during Salt Lake City auditions Thursday and Friday. And a Salt Laker, 30-year-old Charles Brown, will appear on the show tonight at 6:30 p.m. on Ch. 4.
But moving to Salt Lake. No. At least, not yet.