Former Twin Cities meteorologist Patrick Hammer’s “bonehead” DWI arrest in Buffalo, N.Y., didn’t cost him that promotion he was expecting.

That’s what Hammer told me Monday when I contacted him about last week’s Buffalo News article that reads as if Hammer won’t become chief meteorologist at WGRZ.

Via private Twitter message, Hammer wrote: “Hey C.J., still promoted to ‘Chief Meteorologist,’ but working the morning time slot. This isn’t the typical arrangement but some stations are going this route. It does offer the benefit of actually seeing your kids.”

When I replied with relief that the November DWI arrest has not derailed the chief job, Hammer responded:

“Well, it sure could have. I really put myself and my family in a tough place. It got resolved in the courts the best it could have, then after a few months the station brought me back. This plan with the morning show evolved just recently and was not influenced by my bonehead decision back in November.”

When Hammer left the Twin Cities, where he had a long stay at KSTP-TV and a shorter stint at KARE 11, he was excited about having a job again and the prospect of becoming the main meteorologist after Kevin O’Connell retires.

A Buffalo News story says that Hammer might be moved to work on the morning show because a weather anchor has said she is tired of that shift. The story included lots of other weather-related-moving-parts we don’t care about and this paragraph that prompted me to call Hammer: “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.”

Via e-mail, Buffalo News staffer Alan Pergament told me, “Yes, he still will be the chief meteorologist after Kevin O’Connell retires in January.”

Fair fans flush out ‘Urkel’

Jaleel White, Steve Urkel of “Family Matters,” tweeted pictures with fans who spotted him at the State Fair, even though he was on a kind of secret assignment.

“He was in town for part of a taping of a show. The Fair will be part of that taping, as well,” said Brienna Schuette, marketing and communications manager for the fair. “I signed a [confidentiality agreement] so I can’t tell you what the show is.”

Dustin Hoffman spotted at COV

Sounds as if Dustin Hoffman was in town visiting his grandkids.

“I saw Dustin Hoffman at COV in Wayzata [last week], seated in a roped-off patio area with a blonde female friend under the COV signage. It was him because the minute we got near him, staff was there telling us it was a ‘private’ party, and Dustin was looking worried that we’d snap a picture. (He had a full white beard, but it was clearly him.),” e-mailed my tipster Monica.

Since Hoffman isn’t one of those actors with a reputation for being out with “blondes” with whom he should not be seen, I’m going to speculate that he was a) trying to keep a low profile because it can be draining on other family members when there’s a big celebrity with the group or b) feigning concern.

In 2010 when I wrote about Hoffman dining at Bar La Grassa, he was having a lot of fun with people trying to take his photograph.

Monday I had an entertainingly circuitous chat with a guy at COV who said he was the GM.

“You know I prefer not to comment on that,” said the GM.

Prefer not to comment on what?

“On your asking about Dustin Hoffman. I don’t know where this is leading.”

I told him.

“Ahh, I’m with a private ownership group. I can ask them if they would be willing to discuss the subject.”

I await a response.

When I asked Monica if she snapped a photo of Hoffman, she wrote: “No. The truth is we wanted a pic of us by the COV sign, and the minute we got near it and then saw him, the staff were all over us and Dustin was acting nervous, despite the fact he was ‘on display’ under the sign. Given how quickly the staff were around us and seeing him, there’s no doubt it was him. Just not sure what he was doing there. He was seated with a 50-something blonde woman in what they called a private party.”

Big KAT gets the respect

Andrew Brundidge, now 10, the kid who wrote a letter to Gov. Dayton after Philando Castile was killed, was a special guest Sunday of the Lynx.

Brundidge told Matt Bare, basketball academy sales manager, that the OKC Thunder was his favorite NBA team, thus explaining his head gear. He’s a die-hard Russell Westbrook fan.

Bare wanted to know if the Timberwolves at least came in second. Brundidge said yeah. “You’ve got to respect [Karl-Anthony] Towns.” There is video of Andrew’s trip to see the Lynx.


C.J. can be reached at and seen on Fox 9’s “Jason Show” and “Buzz.” E-mailers, please state a subject; “Hello” does not count. Attachments are not opened.