Q: What’s with the changes at KSDK, Channel 5? Reporters seem to be taking over anchor spots, and vice versa. For example, where did Rene Knott go?
T.R., of Collinsville
A: From personal experience, I can tell you that sometimes variety is indeed the spice of life.
Back in the 1970s and early ’80s, I spent seven years writing sports here, but eventually felt burnt out. I discovered it was not what I truly loved or, looking back, was particularly good at, so I switched to Lifestyle and found a wonderful home for life.
Similarly, we’ve seen several high-powered St. Louis TV personalities make much the same dramatic switch, whether for the challenge or a need to move in a new direction. For example, both Mike Bush at KSDK and Steve Savard at KMOV have made the transition from sports to news — and now we can add Rene Knott to the list. On Oct. 27, KSDK announced that Knott, who had been sports director at the station since 2004, was joining Pat McGonigle, Alexandra Corey and the rest of the “Today in St. Louis” team as a morning anchor.
“I have worked alongside some wonderful souls in the KSDK sports office — people I say are my best friends,” Knott said. “But while it is hard to leave behind all that I have known and people I have loved, I also realize the opportunity to grow with ‘Today in St. Louis’ is one I can’t let pass. So I am buying a few alarm clocks so I wake up and get to work on time.”
At the same time, Knott is still bouncing back from a serious health condition and an intricate heart operation during which all of his blood had to be drained from his body. Find his “road-to-recovery” story at www.ksdk.com.
Q: What has become of Andre Hepkins and Matt Chambers on KMOV? People you watch for years always seem to just disappear overnight with no explanation from local stations.
Ed, of Fairview Heights
A: Just for laughs, let me update this mock news story that KMOV ran a few years when the same question about Matt Chambers arose.
“A meteorologist missing from the local airwaves for more than three weeks has been spotted safe and sound, although in serious need of a shave,” the story, headlined “Where in the World is Matt Chambers?,” joked. “When questioned about his whereabouts, Chambers muttered incoherently, ‘Partly cloudy, with brief periods of spit-up, followed by heavy diapers into the weekend.’”
Yes, at 7:34 a.m. on Saturday, Oct. 22, Matt and wife Stephanie welcomed their fifth child into the world, Eleanor Pearl Chambers.
“All 20-and-half-inches of her,” Matt posted on Facebook (along with plenty of new pictures of his darling new daughter, naturally). “All six pounds and three ounces. She’s long and lean ... unlike her father. Before the day was over, her siblings Isaac, Adelaide, Xavier and Genevieve had met her, too (and held her, and beamed at her, and fallen in love with her).”
For the next month, Matt became acquainted with his new daughter. News4 investigators again “found” the 11-year KMOV veteran in his Fairview Heights home knee-deep in baby wipes and covered in Desitin. Stephanie, who was busy re-acquainting her husband with the Diaper Genie, was reportedly unavailable for comment. But on Monday, Chambers showered, shaved and faced the KMOV cameras again.
Not so, however, for former anchor Andre Hepkins. After five years at the St. Louis station, Hepkins bid adieu to the Gateway City on Sept. 30 for an anchor/reporter job at WBAL-TV in Baltimore. WBAL, an NBC affiliate, is the flagship station of Hearst Television.
Q: I used to hear radio ads for something called the National Star Registry and for X amount of dollars, you could get a star named after yourself or a loved one. Is this legitimate? If so, how come I never see stars discussed in scientific journals or astronomy websites called “John Smith” instead of alphabetical/numeric designations?
R.B., of Edwardsville
A: Because, as I think I’ve explained before, it’s totally bogus. Absolutely nobody recognizes the designation except the companies pocketing your hard-earned cash, which is nearly all pure profit except for the cost of printing and paper. But every Valentine’s Day, for example, you’ll be bombarded by offers for this “unique” gift. And it still must be luring suckers, because I’ve noticed there’s not only Star Registry but also Starnamer and others.
You may as well wish upon that first star — and then throw your money into the night air. But if you really think your significant other will be impressed with such a gift, why be creative and do it yourself — and then spend the money on something useful?
Why are Thomas Dam and his “Dam Things” memorable names in the world of toys?
Answer to Wednesday’s trivia: When the highly fictionalized movie “Rasputin and the Princess” was released in the 1932, the very real Prince Feliks Yusupov, of Russia, was livid. Yes, the film had changed his name to Prince Paul Chegodieff (John Barrymore) and that of his wife, Princess Irina, to Princess Natasha. But Yusupov, who was involved in Grigori Rasputin’s murder, immediately saw the similarities. So when the film suggested that his wife had been raped by Grigori Rasputin (which never happened), Yusupov sued for libel and won $127,373 in an English court and a reported $250,000 in an out-of-court settlement from MGM. In addition, the offending scene was removed from all future prints, which makes the movie confusing because viewers no longer know why Natasha becomes so fearful of Rasputin. More important, though, the case led directly to the famous disclaimer now found in all books and movies of fiction: “The story, names, characters, and incidents portrayed in this production are fictitious. No identification with actual persons (living or deceased), places, buildings, and products is intended or should be inferred ... ”