Idiot of the Week (Philly Media Edition)
Former KYW-TV anchor Alycia Lane (CBS photo).
In our periodic search for a suitable "Idiot of the Week," we've resisted the temptation to pile on and select some convenient, low-hanging tabloid fruit.
God knows it's been difficult. By our (decidedly) low standards, the entire Spears family should have won the honor multiple times in 2007 alone. Imagine: an entire clan, seemingly dedicated to bad behavior. Along with Brittney's daily escapades (the media gift that keeps on giving), her 16-year-old sister is now with child, forcing their mother to postpone plans for a book on her "successful" parenting techniques. We couldn't make this stuff up.
Still, we'll take a reluctant pass on the Spears brood in favor of an equally deserving candidate. Residents of the Philadelphia area know Alycia Lane as co-anchor of the 6 and 11 p.m. news on KYW-TV, the local CBS affiliate. Make that the former co-anchor on Channel 3. Yesterday, the station announced that it has parted ways with Ms. Lane, after a series of incidents which prove that television "journalists" can behave as outlandishly as any member of the Spears family.
Lane's undoing began last May, when she e-mailed photos of herself, clad in a bikini, to NFL Network anchor (and former ESPN sportscaster) Rich Eisen. Unfortunately, those e-mails were intercepted by Eisen's wife, who congratulated Lane on her buff figure in an e-mail that was reprinted by the New York Post. Lane claimed that she and Eisen were merely "longtime platonic friends."
Five months later, the twice-divorced Lane became tabloid fodder again, when she was spotted in New York with WCBS-TV anchor Chris Wragge, separated from his wife. Apparently, Ms. Lane and Mr. Wragge were more than just friends, but the relationship didn't last long. The Philadelphia Daily News reports that Wragge dumped her after station managers said they didn't want their anchor associated with Lane and her negative publicity.
Determined to be known as more than a reputed home-wrecker, Ms. Lane sealed her reputation (and fate) in mid-December, during a traffic incident in Manhattan. Riding in a cab with new boyfriend (Philly radio host Chris Booker) and another couple, the group became upset because the vehicle ahead of them was moving slowly. One of the men in the cab jumped out and confronted the occupants of the other car. Three plainclothers officers identified themselves and tried to direct the man--who was reportedly drunk--back to the cab.
That's when the anchorwoman sprang into action. As the Daily News reports:
Lane emerged from the cab and began to take photos with her iPhone, police said. She was asked to stand back by the female officer, prompting Lane to say, "I don't give a f- - - who you are, I'm a f- - -ing TV reporter, you f- - -ing dyke," according to police.
Parts of the phrases she allegedly used can be found on T-shirts, buttons and stickers on items sold on the Internet.
Lane was jailed overnight and released on her own recognizance by 5 p.m. She's expected back in court on April 3.
Making matters worse, Lane raised more eyebrows by calling Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell the next day to "discuss" her case. Meanwhile, she forgot to tell her bosses at KYW about the arrest; they learned of the incident from the Daily News.
Not long after that, Ms. Lane went on an early vacation and remained off the air until she was terminated yesterday. The former anchor's attorneys claim the firing is unfair, noting that she hasn't had her day in court. They also suggested that a wrongful termination lawsuit could be filed against KYW and its parent company, CBS, as early as today.
With her dismissal at Channel 3, Lane lost a job that paid her almost $800,000 a year, and required little more than reading from a Teleprompter and looking attractive on camera. But, the long-term damage to her career may be even greater.
Lasalle University Professor Richard Goed-Koop, an expert on local TV news (what a dubious academic distinction) believes that it could take Lane a decade to regain her lost "credibility" and return to a top 5 media market like Philadelphia. By that time, Ms. Lane will be 45, and presumably, less "buff" than she is today.
As Lane contemplates her future, Daily News columnist Jenice Armstrong suggests that the fired anchor return to Dr. Phil's show, for another round of talk therapy. Lane has already been a two-time guest on the program, once breaking into tears as she described her first divorce.
For blowing a sweet media gig that paid megabucks--with behavior that should qualify her as an honorary member of the Spears clan--former anchorbabe Alycia Lane is a very deserving "Idiot of the Week."