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Hammer to replace Genero on Ch. 2's 'Daybreak' as station changes post-O'Connell plans

Remember last month when I mentioned that Channel 2 weather anchor Maria Genero is sick of working mornings and Patrick Hammer may be moved into the time slot on the popular morning program “Daybreak”?

Well, the switch was announced by Genero on "Daybreak" Thursday morning and on her Facebook page and also tweeted by "Daybreak" co-anchor Melissa Holmes.

That move and the realignment of the station's weather department was revealed later Thursday morning by Channel 2 General Manager Jim Toellner.

Genero is moving to weekend "Daybreak" and also is headed for a promotion. She will immediately be the primary early evening and late news weather anchor on Monday, the weekday that Kevin O'Connell is off. When O'Connell retires in January, Genero and a new weather hire who has been working at AccuWeather, Heather Waldman, will essentially split the early afternoon and evening shifts from Monday through Sunday.

Jennifer Stanonis moves to Hammer's weekend night shifts.

Kevin O'Neill will continue to do weather as a vacation fill-in as well as be a feature reporter.

Hammer was originally hired to replace O’Connell. However, there was no secret inside the halls of Channel 2 that a parade of meteorologists was being interviewed recently for O’Connell’s position. That led to speculation that Hammer would move to the mornings.

The move makes sense. Hammer worked the mornings in Minneapolis for years.

Genero, who supposedly was only a temporary morning fix after Andy Parker bolted to Channel 7 almost two years ago, had told friends she wanted out of those dreadful hours.

It would have been somewhat amusing if MSNBC anchor Brian Williams had to report on the Ryan Lochte story Wednesday night.

After all, the United States swimming star is essentially being accused by Brazilian authorities of exaggerating or making things up as Williams did before losing his position as anchor of the “NBC Nightly News.”

You do have to give NBC credit for its extensive coverage Wednesday night and Thursday of the continuing story involving Lochte and his three gold medal teammates.

While Lochte made it back to the United States, two teammates were taken off a plane and questioned by Brazilian authorities about discrepancies in their stories about an alleged robbery a few nights before. Another teammate scheduled to leave didn’t make it to the airport.

At 10 p.m. Wednesday, Olympic host Bob Costas, reporters Anne Thompson and Gadi Schwartz, and “Today” host Matt Lauer addressed the controversy.

“This has as much to do with public relations as criminality,” said Costas.

That most likely was on the money. One suspects the Brazilian authorities were worried about the implications the scary story might have on its tourist industry.

Lauer, who interviewed Lochte by telephone Wednesday, buried the lead: It took him some time to say Lochte had changed parts of his story.

Lauer didn’t mention the changes in Lochte’s story until Costas asked if Lochte altered or tweaked the story.

Lauer then explained Lochte “stuck to most of the story” but “softened or stepped back” some details. Laurer reported that Lochte now said the taxi the swimmers were in stopped on its own so they could go to a bathroom at a gas station and that it hadn’t been stopped by the robbers. More significantly, Lochte said a gun was pointed at him but not cocked at his head as he had told NBC’s Billy Bush a few days earlier.

“He feels it was more of a traumatic mischaracterization,” said Lauer. “I think people listening at home might feel it is embellishment. But that is up to the people to decide.”

In a follow-up this morning on “Today,” Lauer said “I don’t think the story has changed all that much. There are a couple of details that have changed, but the basics of the story have stayed the same.”

By that reasoning, Williams would still have his high profile job.

There is a big difference between a gun being pointed at you and one being cocked at your head even if both situations are scary.

NBC will undoubtedly have to update the story tonight after Brazilian authorities claimed this morning that the swimmers fabricated the story, something Lochte had denied to Lauer.

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