- The Washington Times - Tuesday, May 4, 2004

Steve Rudin, the WTTG-TV (Channel 5) weekend weatherman who settled a discrimination lawsuit with his bosses last year, plans to leave the Fox affiliate in June.

He will focus on a business he started a few years ago converting old brownstones in the District into condominiums. Mr. Rudin also plans to get his master’s degree in business administration from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.

“It’s time to move on,” he said.

Mr. Rudin, 32, sued his bosses in March 2003 after he was passed over for a job forecasting on WTTG’s weekday 5 p.m. newscast. Mr. Rudin, who is white, claimed discrimina-tion because the job went to Gwen Tolbart, who is black.

His complaint asked WTTG to make Mr. Rudin — then a free-lancer — a full-time forecaster on its 5 p.m. newscast, with back pay and benefits. It also sought unspecified damages.

Mr. Rudin declined to discuss the settlement. After the settlement, he joined WTTG’s payroll permanently as its weekend weatherman. Ms. Tolbart still forecasts weekdays at 5 p.m.

“I have absolutely no regrets,” Mr. Rudin said, adding that he wishes his bosses and Ms. Tolbart well.

Mr. Rudin, despite having a made-for-the-camera face, hasn’t had the easiest time in TV.

The Farmington Hills, Mich., native came to town in 1995 as a weekend weatherman at CBS affiliate WUSA-TV (Channel 9), where he worked under Doug Hill, whom he idolized when Mr. Hill worked in Detroit televison during Mr. Rudin’s youth.

In 2000, Mr. Rudin became one of the first staffers David Roberts canned when he joined the station as news director. The next year, the producers of CBS’ “Survivor: Africa” named Mr. Rudin an alternate player but never brought him off the bench.

Mr. Rudin doesn’t rule out returning to TV one day — he wouldn’t mind joining CNBC as a business analyst — but he wants to focus on life off the air for now.

“It’s unfortunate, but so many people in TV think they can only do one thing. I think if the lights went out one day, a lot of people would have some major problems, and I mean that respectfully,” he said.

‘Girl’ interrupted

It pains us to write this, but WWZZ-FM (104.1) will drop “Girl Talk,” its snappy Sunday night talk show geared toward women, after the May 9 broadcast. Station managers said the program doesn’t fit WWZZ’s new music-heavy image.

Debra Leigh and Erica Hilary, the creators and hosts of “Girl Talk,” hope to shop their format to a syndicator. Mrs. Hilary will continue to deliver traffic reports on WWZZ weekday mornings.

Sensing a trend here?

More departures from local broadcasting:

• WTNT-AM (570) has canceled “The Paul Berry Show,” leaving behemoth owner Clear Channel Communications Inc. without a local talk show in this area. Mr. Berry may host specials for WTNT, but the former TV anchorman said he won’t miss the daily 75-mile commute from his Easton, Md., home to WTNT’s Silver Spring studio.

• A fond ta-ta to Chris Pike. Viacom Inc. hired the former general manager of WJLA-TV (Channel 7) and NewsChannel 8 to run its CBS and UPN affiliates in Pittsburgh.

Call Chris Baker at 202/636-3139 or e-mail him at cbaker@washingtontimes.com.



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