Yes it rained—and hard—on the Rose Parade, but KTLA figured out a way around the tension in the booth between longtime hosts Bob Eubanks and Stephanie Edwards. They demoted Edwards to sideline reporter, leaving her out in the downpour in a red coat and black gloves and boots to chirp in occasional comments about being drenched. I'm told there was an edge to her remarks, but Eubanks' triumph—and warm perch up in the booth—didn't exactly sweeten his demeanor either. He sounded annoyed with the ad-libs of new co-host Michaela Pereira, especially when the co-anchor of KTLA's "Morning News" dared to say anything about horses (one of Bob's areas of expertise.) Pasadena Star-News editor Larry Wilson saw it coming, writing in a column last week that Edwards has been hinting around town at Channel 5's plans to exile her. Wilson received calls from Edwards supporters saying it was unfair that she got moved out for a younger woman while Eubanks, who is six years older, remains. Wilson then got a message from KTLA denying that Edwards was demoted, but rather had shifted into the new role of "roving co-host." Call it what you wish, but she didn't do much roving. She looked glued to her icy seat in the grandstand when I saw her. I looked for a screen grab of Edwards in exile, but haven't found one.
* My email: Running strongly pro-Stephanie. 3 pm
** Still rolling in, and blogs too: Susan Kitchens emails that "Bob Eubanks said to Stephanie, 'There is no end to your limitations.' My jaw dropped when I heard that." Others caught Pereira calling Sandra Day O'Connor a justice of the (ugh) Superior Court. Turn the page for a sampling of my email and blog reaction. 8 pm
I've yet to see an email that supports KTLA's dump on Stephanie Edwards. People don't seem to like Eubanks much either:
Megan M: "Well, thanks to KTLA broadcasters, the rain wasn’t the worst part of the 2006 Rose Parade....I think Stephanie Edwards handled herself with great aplomb in a pathetic situation, literally balancing a microphone, an umbrella, and a program while trying to broadcast in horizontal rain. Sheesh, couldn’t they at least get her a headset mike? Trying to carry on a three-way conversation while being the only party out of visual contact must have been hard enough without Michaela’s interruptions."
Nancy H: "Worse than the rain on the parade was the treatment of Stephanie Edwards on the KTLA Rose Parade telecast. I was completely outraged that she was demoted to sitting in the stands having no part at all in the coverage. She didn't even have a place to put her papers and had to juggle the microphone and umbrella?! It was completely demoralizing."
Bill T: "On December third of 2005, I attended a Christmas dinner with my wife who is part of a service club called 'Altrusa.' The guest speaker was Stephanie Edwards. I was surprised to hear from her that she had been told by channel 5 that she was 'a bit long in the tooth' for the WB target audience so she was being side-lined to a 'color' commentary and replaced by Michaela Pereira, a much younger woman as co-host of the channel 5 Rose Parade booth crew. Sure enough, today as we watched the parade, it was just as she described it. I was amused at the start of the show to see how uneasy Michaela and Bob Eubanks were with one another. There appeared to be a mutual sniping going on between all three and since I felt I knew a little more than most of the audience, I watched carefully to see the results."
Cathy: "The first thing I thought of when I saw her huddling under her umbrella, was that KTLA was sending her to the SIberia of the stands. Bob Edwards is pompous and Michaela is an idiot. Her gaffs were not endearing (superior court for Sandra Day O'Connor.) If Stephanie goes, there is no reason to watch the parade on channel 5."
Gary C: "A true disservice to Stephanie who is a more charismatic announcer than the Canadian Princess who commented over Mr. Eubanks' diatribe most of the time...Is his head too big for his body or is it my TV?"
Paul R: "I was yelling at the TV over the comments of the co-host on Channel 5, Perreira....She identified Sandra Day O'Connor as "the first female Superior Court Justice..."
JM: "Michaela Pereira did a fine job today and we congratulate her. However Stephanie Edwards is the wit and the charm of the team and she knows Los Angeles."
Vina: "No offense to Michaela Pereira, who seems to be a wonderful person. The witty and informative comments between Stephanie and Bob are entertaining and legendary. They are both an important part of the parade. I am sure that Stephanie and Bob are professional enough to work together for one day a year. PLEASE BRING STEPHANIE BACK TO THE BOOTH WITH BOB!"
Barrio Marlon: "the tension between Eubanks and Pereira was thick ... weird was each time the KTLA camera went to Edwards, she sat alone in the bleachers ... the camera crew or Edwards made no effort to fill in the seats with bodies ... she look so sad ..."
June E: "We want Stephanie Edwards not Bob Eubanks. She has all the class and he just has arrogance."
And around some blogs...
"To Michaela Pereira's credit she wasn't as obnoxious or vacant as I feared, certainly nowhere near the levels of idiocy displayed by the hosts of the Hollywood Christmas Parade broadcast. My only criticisms would be her humming along with the marching bands and referring to Grand Marshal Sandra Day O'Connor as a justice on the "Superior" Court and taking a painfully obvious potty break (which Eubanks somewhat cruelly called her on)." Won't You Follow Me Down to the Rose Parade
"Memo to KTLA Channel 5 Management: Congratulations to KTLA for acheiving a true NEW COKE moment by replacing Stephanie Edwards with Michaela Pereira for the play by play of the 117th Annual Rose Parade Coverage." Memo to:
"Our hearts especially went out to Stephanie Edwards who was relegated to the stands with an umbrella and a soggy program. She kept her composure and her hair and mascara didn't even flinch." BOB! Your Life Preserver
"My favorite faux paus by new cohost Michaela Pereira was referring to Sandra Day O'Connor as the first woman "Superior Court Justice." I give her credit, however, for stopping Bob Eubanks, who made the mistake (considering there are many small children in his audience) of talking about Disney characters like Donald Duck as being people in costume. As she said, 'You just don't do that!'" Laura's Miscellaneous Musings
"Stephanie Edwards, the queen of Rose Parade hosting, was ousted by some ugly boring drone on KTLA. Stephanie had to sit down in the pouring rain and do absolutely nothing during the parade since her parade program containing all of the trivia was destroyed by the rain." Secants and Tangents
"Turning on the T.V. this morning and seeing Stephanie Edwards out of the booth and down on the street was a bigger surprise than rain on the parade." 2Cents
"bob eubanks needs to bring stephanie edwards back. this new girl is an annoying and incompetent host." jootiepatootie
Tuesday update: Stephanie emails the Times