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The Medium's Message

Predictions for the year in local TV

Nostradamus? Please. The guy who wrote the Book of Revelations? Out of his mind. Jeanne Dixon? We won't even touch that. Predicting the future isn't just a gift; it's an art form, best left to the experts. But why worry about next year's world or national issues at all when there's going to be so much happening here at home?

Hence, as is my tradition, I give you my 2007 predictions for local television news.

* WPXI consumer reporter Becky Thompson will be poisoned to death after dining at a local restaurant. Her body will be placed in the county morgue, where it will be kept for three days, as per her dying wishes, at "safe temperatures." Afterward, it will be discarded promptly -- in accordance with her tenet: "When it doubt, throw it out."

* KDKA investigator Marty Griffin will board a bus from Downtown en route to an assignment to expose a Catholic priest who is allegedly guilty of stealing pierogis from his church rectory. Minutes into the ride, he will discover that the PAT bus has been rigged with a bomb and that, if the bus goes under 50 mph, the bomb will detonate. He notices that one of the passengers is former Pittsburgh Mayor Sophie Masloff (she's returning from a hair appointment). Together, they will save everyone on the bus -- and then fall in love.

* Seasoned Channel 4 anchor Sally Wiggin will challenge anchor Wendy Bell to a boxing match to decide once and for all who is the "Queen of WTAE." Says Wiggin during the pre-fight hype: "I may be older but I'm much bolder. / I'm so great, I could take you in eight, / but just for fun, I might take you in one. / You think you so cool, Ms. Wendy Bell, but if you don't watch your step, I'll see you in hell. / You'll be the one flat on your back, / and I'll be dancin' and jiggin'. / You know how to talk, but you don't know jack. / And you done heard it from me, Sally Wiggin."

* In the third week of March, a meteorologist from WTAE will predict the weather correctly.

* Channel 11 reporter Amy Marcinkiewicz will cover a story where she is not shown eating a kielbasa or kicking some type of ball in a parking lot.

* Attempting to top last summer's "Nestea plunge" into a pool at Sandcastle water park, WTAE meteorologist Don Schwenneker will dive off the Birmingham Bridge into the Monongahela River -- and to the dismay of his loyal fans, disappear. He will wash ashore days later, in the wee hours of the morning, where Channel 11's Dee Thompson will be standing by, live. Don will thank Dee by offering to share his chili recipe.

* Sportscaster John Steigerwald will mistakenly receive a memo from KDKA station executives meant for the female on-air talent, and begin wearing tighter, more provocative low-cut blouses and jewelry. Though unsure of Steigerwald's "bizarre behavior" at first, KDKA discovers an entirely new demographic and tells him to continue, adding that he "should really go heavy on the lip liner, too."

* WPXI investigative reporter Alan Jennings will uncover the truth about WTAE traffic reporter Melanie Taylor: The reports are exactly the same every day, and she is really at home drinking. Jennings will make his discovery on the day the national news reports that there is a bomb on a Port Authority bus carrying a former mayor and local TV reporter: Despite the resulting rush-hour delays, Taylor makes no mention of it.

* Andy Sheehan, KDKA investigator, will interview Mayor Luke Ravenstahl live from Smithfield and Forbes, Downtown, in a series profiling Ravenstahl's accomplishments and foibles prior to his bid for re-election.

During the interview, Ravenstahl will be run over by a Port Authority bus going 53 mph.

* Post-Gazette sports writer and KDKA commentator Ed Bouchette will follow coach Bill Cowher to North Carolina after his retirement. There, Bouchette will continue to deliver live reports daily, only this time about how the condition of Cowher's lawn, what he had for dinner, and what his golf score was that day. When he exhausts all the details of Cowher's life, Bouchette will begin to make them up. Viewers will be none the wiser.

* After investigative reporter Marty Griffin miraculously dismantles the bomb on the bus, Masloff emerges from the bus a hero. Admirers suggest she run for mayor again. She wins the election hands-down and becomes the oldest mayor of a major city in the United States. During an appearance on Letterman, she says she'll continue to run the city according to Mayor Ravenstahl's vision. She will laugh, and then say, "Just kidding, Dave! I may be old, but I'm not crazy!"

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