C.J.: Seavert changes channels, goes to KARE11

  • Article by: C.J. , Star Tribune
  • Updated: June 13, 2012 - 8:42 PM
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She may now be at KARE11, but Lindsey Seavert still answers the phone “’CCO.”

Just 22 months into a job at her dream station, WCCO-TV, Lindsey Seavert has taken her enormous skills as a writer and storyteller to KARE11.

The hiring of Seavert was a coup for KARE11. It's also a leap of faith for her. On Wednesday -- her third day on the new job -- she told me the switch goes against her tendency to play it safe.

I recently studied Seavert at work when she and photographer Dave Wertheimer were reporting a story about rock 'n' roll photographer Rob Shanahan's book signing. She's good. Some who've watched her on TV think Seavert has the kind of talent that could one day land her a job on "CBS Sunday Morning."

What Seavert didn't have at WCCO was a noncompete. As she understands it, she was hired at a time when the station was not willing to pay an extra $3,000 for the right to restrict a former employee's move to another station in this market.

"WCCO-TV has always been my dream station, a career destination," Seavert said. "I grew up in the Plymouth area. I started out at KCCO, the [now-closed WCCO] bureau in Alexandria. For me 'CCO was my journalistic mecca. I honestly thought I was always going to be there and never really thought about looking elsewhere.

"When my [WCCO] contract was up for renegotiation, KARE was interested. At first I just thought I should probably listen to what they have to say. ... It was just one of those things: When I sat down with new news director Jane [Helmke], I connected with her. We shared similar philosophies of journalism and growth and potential and storytelling. She's trying to drive KARE in a different direction."

And, there was the award-winning Boyd Huppert factor.

Huppert is too classy and confident to behave the way Brett Favre did when Aaron Rodgers joined the sandbox in Green Bay. At storytelling workshops in Florida and Kentucky, Huppert has mentored and encouraged Seavert.

"He told me Jane is taking KARE into a new direction and he's never been happier in his career; he's having the time of his life," she said. "When Boyd says something like that, you really stop and listen.

"Just yesterday Boyd Huppert along with Rena Sarigianopoulos won National Murrow Awards [along with photographers Gary Knox, Craig Norkus and Jonathan Malat]. KARE puts a lot of stock in national journalism awards. I would be honored if I could try to win a National Murrow someday."

She won two regional Emmys eight months ago, but was unable to attend the ceremony because that was the day she and husband Ian brought home baby Stellan.

"I thought maybe I should think about this [KARE11 offer]," said Seavert. "I am in a life transition with a baby, and I am looking for the balance and fulfillment and growth. I just connected with [Helmke]; it was really one of those unexpected things. I really had to re-evaluate: Where do I belong?"

She admired and respected WCCO's Bill Hudson, another great storyteller. "I was doing great storytelling at WCCO. I feel I might be able to bring it to another level here," she said.

"When I told Amelia [Santaniello, WCCO anchor] I made that decision, she cried. A lot of us cried together. I felt I was leaving my family and friends. That was really difficult," said Seavert. "It was amicable with the managers; they wished me the best. It wasn't one of those things where [News Director] Mike Caputa sent me packing that day. He let me finish some stories for a few days after my decision. I do think they handled it professionally."

Seavert's so new at KARE11 she is still slipping up and answering the phone, "'CCO, this is Lindsey."

Another tie for Nye

Bill Nye the Science Guy won't tinker with his sartorial statement while acting as a spokesman for Minneapolis-based Sophia.org.

Sophia.org is an online education platform that offers 25,000 free tutorials for students from the sixth grade through the second year of college. Nye is a partner with Sophia.org, which wants to help students fight summer "brain drain." Some experts believe students on summer vacation can forget up to 40 percent of what they learned during the school year.

"I know I suffered it when I was a student," said Nye.

How can that be for the Science Guy who seems a little like Sheldon on CBS' "The Big Bang Theory"? Nye took faux umbrage with the Sheldon comparison. Not even Bazinga would have saved me.

"Sheldon is a little odd. He is a caricature," said Nye. "You don't see Sheldon in a bow tie. Do you? Plus if Amy Farrah Fowler were constantly trying to [seduce] me, I would help her out."

Stepping away from the naughty chatter, I asked Nye when he doffs the bow tie. "If I'm scuba diving, seldom wear one. Bicycling, seldom wear one," said Nye. "It's my thing."

He's never, ever thought about tweaking his thing by maybe wearing a bow tie without a shirt. "A different market," Nye said. "If I'm wearing a bow tie, you can pretty much count on me having on a shirt, as well."

C.J. is at 612.332.TIPS or cj@startribune.com. E-mailers, please state a subject -- "Hello" doesn't count. Attachments are not opened, so don't even try. More of her attitude can be seen on Thursdays on Fox 9.

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