Shifts in the talent pool at WCCO-TV are likely to be interpreted as the elevation of one particular Minnesota-born talent — but not so fast, folks.

WCCO-TV news director Mike Caputa is informing staffers Wednesday about “some shifts for some of our staff that most affects our morning shows. In recent months, both Mike Augustyniak and Natalie Nyhus came to me and asked about working a shift other than the [weekday] morning show. Both had different but personal reasons. Starting the week of 9/2, Matt Brickman will take over weekday morning weather and Kim Johnson will join the show as an anchor [who] also handles traffic reporting. We believe both will be able to join the team without missing a beat. Augustyniak will be the weekend morning meteorologist as well as fill in on other shifts. Natalie will take over as the Saturday morning anchor as well as report for us, including taking over the ‘Best of Minnesota’ franchise from Matt.”

Aw, that’s too bad. I really, really liked Brickman’s soothingly charming “Best of Minnesota” segments. That is, right up until he goes all Jimmy Fallon, ending the pieces by penning a corny letter to a relative.

Caputa told his troops, “While we know how valuable both Augustyniak and Nyhus have been to our morning show [because of their respective personal issues] we wanted to do our best to make the accommodation. Having a depth of very talented people on staff has made this possible.”

The shifts mean that Johnson will become a third anchor joining main anchors Jason DeRusha and Jamie Yuccas weekday mornings. Kim and Jamie on the same set? THIS is going to be an interesting experiment!

The Johnson move to weekdays is likely to excite some people, who have been sending me e-mails about Kim supplanting Amelia Santaniello as main anchor. Although Nyhus and Yuccas are both Minnesota natives, I have received a suspicious number of e-mails and phone calls since Johnson joined the station in May, about how Kim is being groomed for the top chair. I had a particularly spirited, protracted debate via e-mail with someone on this subject recently. By protracted I mean we went back and forth on this subject over a weekend, during which I pointedly conveyed the reasons why Johnson is no Santaniello.

“She will not be taking over for Amelia,” chuckled Caputa Wednesday when I asked if this was the beginning of Johnson’s ascent. (Caputa’s laughter might have been explained by the fact that I couldn’t talk about the possibility without laughing.) “I don’t think Amelia is going anywhere for a long time. I wouldn’t anticipate that. It’s so funny. Every time there’s a new person who comes in here to anchor, people automatically assume they are coming to take over for Amelia. It happened with Liz Collin, everybody was telling me that. It happened when Jamie Yuccas came; now with Kim Johnson. With Aristea Brady I got some of that stuff. It’s just funny, how that stuff goes, but no there are no plans other than [those announced].”

While double-checking the spelling of Brady’s first name on the Web for this item, I noticed that she has landed at a FOX station in Colorado. She returned to her native Colorado because of business opportunities available to her new husband. But the talented Brady was not in town long before landing another anchor/reporter gig.

Now that main anchor has more worry about than Santaniello.


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