Friday, January 08, 2010

A Fond Farewell To Erica Hill

Hi everyone. Sorry about Thursday night's review. It's been so cold here lately that before the show, I decided to climb under the covers for a bit to warm up. You can probably guess where this is going: yep, fell asleep. Thankfully, I didn't make that same mistake for Friday's show. Actually, I still hadn't planned on posting, but when I heard the cutest work marriage on TV was breaking up, I felt a little obligated to give Ms. Hill a proper send off.

Cha-cha-changes for our friends at 360. Everyone's favorite sub-anchor is leaving "the most trusted name in news" for a full-time gig at CBS. Erica was always a delight to watch. To say she had really good chemistry with Anderson Cooper would be an understatement. Always quick on her feet, she gave as good as she got. You have to be whip-smart to pull that off, people. This is why though I am saddened to see her go, I'm also happy for her. I'm not sure CNN was really letting her showcase all her talents.

As a long-time viewer, it's going to be strange to watch the show without Erica. She made the official move to 360 (and New York) only about two years ago, but she'd been doing the headlines from Atlanta ever since I've been watching. I can't think of anyone who is going to be able to match the banter she had with Anderson. I don't have the video, but I was able to Google up the transcript from when they first met in person on May 31, 2005:
Joining me right now from HEADLINE NEWS is Erica Hill. Hey, Erica.

ERICA HILL, CNN HEADLINE NEWS ANCHOR: Nice to see you in person.

COOPER: I know, it's -- I think it's first we've actually really met.

HILL: I think it really is.

COOPER: I'm all aquiver.

HILL: Well, you know, I was getting excited myself. My mom may have been even more excited, yes.

COOPER: Well, that's...

HILL: She's a big Anderson fan, so -- but I'll get to your headlines. We'll deal with pleasantries later.

COOPER: We call them Ander-fans, by the way.

HILL: Ander-fans. I'll pass that on.
Though I've always known I've liked Erica, ironically it was only a mere week and a half ago when I realized just how much she'd grown on me over the years. Kathy Griffin had stopped by to give a preview of the New Year's Eve show and Erica was subbing. Kathy being Kathy did some mocking. While Erica kept up just fine, there was a little part of me that felt...what's the word? Protective. Hey, don't mess with Erica! Does this make her my TV news girlfriend?

On a similar note, was anyone else really amused by the "big announcement" teasing that Anderson kept doing? It was the way it was framed: "Erica and I have a big announcement to make, a very important announcement." ZOMG, are they having a baby?! I mean, you know, obviously noooo, but it sounded like they were about to tell us something couple-y. Anyhoo! Here is the video of Anderson's very gracious tribute, accompanied by a montage and some almost-tears from Ms. Hill. And here's a screencap for the road, taken four or so years ago--a sight I'm going to miss:

Since this is not a traditional review, here is as good a place as any to note some other CNN personnel changes. The Situation Room's Abbi Tatton is moving on from the network and Heidi Collins' contract will not be renewed. Long-time viewers of 360 will remember Heidi as a regular sub for the show back in the day. It sounds like she's getting pushed out. I guess CNN learned their lesson not to do the dirty work before Christmas like they did last year.

Speaking of that, while reading blog posts about the NYE special, I came across something from a Jamie McIntyre. Surely that couldn't be the same Jamie McIntyre that used to be CNN's Pentagon correspondent? Turns out, yes it was! It's a little strange to see him now blogging about Anderson Cooper's need for a safe word, but there you go. He's on Twitter too and I suggest you follow because if there's anyone who might dish up info on CNN, it's a former CNNer.

That about does it. Cute "shot" tonight. All my best to Erica Hill and family on the transition she's about to make.

ETA: Wow, I completely forgot Erica really is pregnant. So while she and Anderson certainly aren't having a baby (c'mon now), she and her husband actually are. Best wishes on that front as well.

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Blogger Anne said...

Hi Eliza,

There is definate chemistry between Erica and Anderson. I know he will miss her. I agree that she was underutilized at CNN. I followed your link to Jamie McIntyre's web sute. I bookmarked it to read daily.

4:59 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"I can't think of anyone who is going to be able to match the banter she had with Anderson."

I can: Tom Foreman. He has the same kind of eccentric sense of humor that AC has & he's just as quick-witted. Always fun to see them together.

9:40 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I know this is going to come across as mean, but I really don't see the big deal with Erica. Her contribution to 360 insignificant, her flirting and banter with Anderson forced and tiresom, her voice annoying, she often came across as smug and arrogant. I guess I wonder how she could be considered a correspondent or journalist when she has never set foot out of her office.

I also think she is excellent on The Early Show.

It seemed obvious that it was not her choice to to leave but that her contract was not renewed after her 2 years there.

How often to you see a 7 month pregnant leave her current job?

10:18 AM  
Blogger Jamie McIntyre said...

Uh... if someone linked to my site to read it daily, I'm going to have to step up my output. My New Year's resolution is to blog more and think less.

As for Erica Hill, I think she has THE best facial expressions since Rachel on "Friends".

If there was an Olympics category for that, she'd grad the Gold.

Jamie McIntyre

10:41 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anderson made me a little nervous when he started talking about the "big announcement". It really is going to be difficult to replace Erica--not to malign others on CNN who have subbed for Erica and attempted to do the banter with AC, but it did become really clear how good AC and Erica were together when Erica returned to the show that she had that little something extra. I expect that she'll have a great career ahead of her, but 360 won't be the same now that she's gone.

2:55 PM  
Blogger Lynn said...

I agree with the comment above me. When Anderson mentioned that at the end of the program he had an announcement,I thought maybe it had something to do with the show. The ratings for 360 aren't amazing so it made me think the show could be going off air. I'm obviously relieved that isn't the case but I'm still sad Erica is leaving. Anderson and Erica make a good pair and they are able to play off of each other really well. I always look forward to their jokes. I really wish Erica all the best and hope she's successful over at her new job. We will miss her.

5:43 PM  
Blogger eliza said...

@Anne: They really were quite a duo, weren't they?

@Anonymous 9:40 AM: Tom has a great sense of humor. His part in the "shot" last night had me laughing out loud even though I didn't even know the context. I'd throw in Gary Tuchman and Randi Kaye as others I enjoy seeing do the headlines. But I'm not sure anyone can match the banter of Erica Hill. She had the gift of being able to smack around our anchor (relatively speaking) and have us love her for it.

@anonymous 10:18 AM: You are of course entitled to your opinion. I have to disagree. First of all, I almost always found her interactions with Anderson enjoyable and never forced.

And while I've stated that I thought she was underutilized, it's simply not true that she never left her office. Off the top of my head I can recall her going to Michigan to interview voters. But there's no reason for any of us to get caught up in arguing these tiny points now.

The "big deal" is that she's been a part of the show since most of us have been watching. She's contributed reports, webcasts, blogs, and more fun moments with Anderson than I can count. Not only that, she's proven herself to be a capable anchor with the ability to aggressively interview. She will be missed.

No, nothing is "obvious." Maybe that's how it went down; maybe it's not. I like following this stuff as much as the next person, but it's really none of our business. The important thing is she has an excellent opportunity waiting for her at CBS.

@Jamie McIntyre: Hi Jamie. Welcome. I have also bookmarked your blog, so better get cracking! Blog more and think less, huh? Words to live by. ;)

Also, I agree, no one has better facial expressions than Erica Hill

@anonymous 2:55 PM: Agreed. She's leaving a hole that can't be filled.

@Lynn: I didn't even think about that. I knew ahead of time due to TVNewser scooping the story, but I can see how some viewers might have thought the show was ending. In all honesty, I wouldn't be surprised if 2010 brings more big changes. Nothing lasts forever. I guess we'll see.

7:08 PM  

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