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KARE 11 anchor Diana Pierce is much funnier off-camera.
You have no idea -- although there are flashes of her off-camera personality whenever Pierce laughs at something that really tickles her. One of her broadcasting colleagues challenged me to say something to provoke that laugh during my startribune.com/video with Pierce. I succeeded. Even got her to show her Mom Pride about daughter Chelsea Babcock landing an official gig, through her college, at the Olympics in London. I kick off this version of the interview by asking why somebody whom local broadcasting colleagues consider one of the decent, genuinely nice, even sweet, talents at KARE 11 has been divorced twice. That's the million-dollar question among those who know Pierce.
Q Explain your taste in husbands to me.
A I need a glass of wine in my hand for that one. But I've been through therapy. They were good men to begin with, I was very attracted to them. At some point we just took a hard left turn. But I have a very beautiful daughter [from the second marriage]. I love her very much and her dad loves her. I'm very grateful. She's going to the Olympics. She gets to be the media resource coordinator at the swimming and diving center. She's getting so excited. She's had to get her fingerprints and all the rest of that stuff. This is done through her school; she's one of 50 [from her college]. She wants to work in the film business. In L.A. or London. The BBC would be her dream job.
Q You're a beautiful woman, but the truth of the matter is that you're a big nerd. Tell me some of the ways you're a nerd that would surprise viewers.
A I can be like Cliff Clavin. It just becomes very annoying. Enough said, people know who Cliff Clavin is. [In case you don't, he was the postman on "Cheers."]
Q You read all the Harry Potter books and all the Twilight books?
A Yes, God bless me. I have not done "Fifty Shades of Grey." It's on my list of things to do.
Q Really? I don't see you reading a kinky book about a submissive relationship.
A I'm curious because everybody's talking about it. I haven't even read any excerpts online. I have no clue but they have like a book club, even on the "Today Show." I look at it this way: There's always a learning curve in life. If it's something I don't know about maybe I need to read about it. Doesn't mean I need to participate in it. It's like climbing a mountain. I don't necessarily want to climb the Himalayas but I might read about it.
Q What's the current state of broadcasting?
A The current state of broadcasting is in flux. I think everybody is trying to decide what the next thing is. It's going be an exciting time in the next 12 years. We started out with One Man Bands a long time ago and we're back to One Man Bands. What's old is new again. There is so much information that needs to be put out there, the work level is tremendous, quadrupled what it has been. I don't see that easing up unless they hire more people. Most days I'm not taking a lunch break; I bring my lunch from home. I look at my e-mail at 7:30 in the morning or before that. Friday nights at 9 o'clock, I have no life. I'm e-mailing people and it's usually the PR people with no life at all [who respond]. In some ways it's more work than ever before, but I still love the job. That's a joy. I talk to different people every day about different things.
Q Would you be retired now if you could?
A No. I will be working as long as I can in whatever form possible.
Q You can go a long time because Diana Sawyer is kissing 70 and Barbara Walters [is heading toward] 90.
A [Walters] will be talking to us through her casket.
Q Tell me something about longtime former co-anchor Paul Magers.
A He had Paulisms, I'd say. One of the things Paul used to say is that we are the "F-Troop" of broadcast stations. That's us making fun of ourselves. To this day, amazingly, I will have people come up to me and say, "You and Ron were great. We loved watching you." I spent 20 years with Paul [and not a day anchoring with his brother Ron Magers, who worked at KSTP-TV]. It floors me. He was gone by the time Paul and I started in 1983.
Q Mike Pomeranz, recently exiting as KARE11 anchor?
A He is very much missed. He sat between Julie [Nelson, anchor] and myself. It's a sad little state of affairs there, a desk and nobody's sitting at it. He would come in and start telling stories and again, a lot of this would never be air-worthy. It's not even video-broadcast-worthy on the Star Tribune website. You have to have, in essence, a little gallows humor. That's what makes work good when you deal with life's crises as we broadcast on a regular basis, the offset of that is to have some humor that might not be appropriate in some circumstances. But for us, we kind of break the tension, then we get down to the serious business of bringing the news, which is bad news most of the time. We try to be as thoughtful and respectful as possible and do our job. People don't realize that we as journalists are often first on the scene of really bad news. We'll see the pools of blood, the dead body, the things we're not going to show you, but those are lasting impressions.
Q Your 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. show co-anchor Pat Evans is devilish, right?
A Most of what he says cannot go on the air. Seriously. We've had so many conversations going up to 3-2-1 that would really get us embarrassed. Our microphones have not been left open. We have a very, top, No. 1 audio staff. We are blessed with that.
Q What do you find funny?
C.J. can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and seen on FOX 9. A shorter version of this interview is printed in the newspaper.