[11/17/06 update: It’s official–Leslie Griffith is gone for good from KTVU.]
[10/8/06 update: The San Francisco Chronicle’s Matier and Ross weighed in on Leslie Griffith’s absence. KTVU’s general manager said she’s on leave at least until October 27; in late September, he was saying he expected her back early in October.]
I didn’t catch the top of the KTVU “10 O’Clock News” Thursday night, but the show undoubtedly opened with one of the anchors saying something like, “Leslie Griffith has the night off.” It’s not news when a TV co-anchor takes a vacation day, but what’s odd is that Leslie Griffith, who’s appeared opposite Dennis Richmond for eight and a half years, has had the night off, from both the 10 o’clock show and the 5 p.m. newscast, for six weeks running. Griffith’s departure wouldn’t be shocking; from my perhaps unforgiving viewpoint she’s been giving empty, off-key performances for years and just doesn’t appear suited to the straight-ahead news operation KTVU fancies itself to be.
But if Griffith is out, why doesn’t the station say so?
The reason: Griffith is not out. She’s just not on the air. And there’s no telling when she’ll be back. According to a KTVU staffer, “Management is saying, ‘Leslie is on extended leave, and we look forward to her return.’ ” The staffer added that Griffith “has been gone on her own accord. She has not been forced out.”
[Update: Another source says that while rumors swirl at the station about whether Griffith will return or not, more attention is focused on the upcoming launch of “The 10 O’Clock News” in HDTV. That’s scheduled to happen October 9.]
(Even though most of the local papers seem to have taken a pass on this story–I guess there’s a war on or something–the Contra Costa Times’s TV writer has taken notice: “Where’s Leslie Griffith?“)