Former WPGH news anchor Sheila Hyland will anchor morning newscasts on KDKA-TV beginning Tuesday.
Hyland will be a temporary freelance fill-in for morning anchor Keith Jones, who suffered a broken arm in an automobile accident last week. She will anchor alongside KDKA's Sonni Abatta.
"Given Keith's situation and given the fact Jennifer [Antkowiak] is finishing her time at KDKA -- next Friday is her last day -- we're a little short-handed in the short term," said KDKA general manager Chris Pike. "Sheila will just do the mornings at this point. She's committed to be here for a month and we'll see what transpires. We're lucky to have somebody who's experienced available at this time."
Hyland has been unemployed since WPGH's owner, Sinclair Broadcast Group, shut down the station's news operation in January. WPXI now produces a 10 p.m. newscast for WPGH.
"I'm really looking forward to it," Hyland said yesterday of her new role at KDKA. "The key is to look awake at five o'clock in the morning. I've worked nights for 20 years, so this is a new thing."
Even before Jones' accident, Hyland had expressed interest in Antkowiak's position as an anchor at the station, Pike said. "Our search for a Jennifer replacement continues, but [Hyland] is certainly being considered. But the decision to ask her to fill in in the morning is entirely unrelated to that search."
Pike said he's uncertain when Jones will return to the air.
"He's out of the hospital and recuperating and he has multiple injuries," Pike said. "We've had no conversations about the accident and how it happened. When he's better able to do that, we will."
Jones told State Trooper Robert G. Downs he had been drinking before the accident. As of Wednesday afternoon, no charges had been filed. (Rob Owen, Post-Gazette TV editor)
WTAE'S WEB REPORTER
Channel 4 has hired a reporter who will file TV-style reports primarily for WTAE's Web site, www.thepittsburghchannel.com.
Ashley DiParlo, currently an associate producer at Channel 4, will report, blog and podcast stories for the station's Web site, including coverage of the upcoming May primary. (R.O.)
CASTING THIRD 'GEEK'
The third edition of The WB reality show "Beauty and the Geek," which will air in the future on the new CW network, will be in Pittsburgh casting brainless beauties and brainy guys with zero social skills.
If you qualify and want to be on TV, casting will be held Saturday at Boomerang's Bar & Grille in Oakland, 3901 Forbes Ave., from noon to 5 p.m. Applications are available online at thewb.warnerbros.com/web/o_generic_format.jsp?id=BG-Season-three-Casting-Call. (R.O.)