Longtime CBS4 weather forecaster Ed Greene is transitioning into a part-time role at the station, where he's worked since 1981, with Lauren Whitney poised to replace him on the outlet's highest-profile newscasts. But a station source tells Westword that what was portrayed by the Denver Post yesterday as a brusque dumping was actually a deliberate process negotiated over the course of a year with the full cooperation of Greene, whose evident displeasure over the plan left management feeling blindsided.
Neither Greene nor CBS4 news director Tim Wieland have responded to Westword's interview requests. But the latest developments, which involve Greene ceding the top spot to Whitney over the next six months or so, after which he'll act as an occasional on-air substitute and station emissary at public events, stand in stark contrast to the lovefest portrayed in our October 2016 post "CBS4 Forecasts a Three-Headed Super Team."
At that time, Wieland told us about a new approach to weather at the station in which its early evening and late-night weekly newscasts would each include not one, not two, but three weather forecasters: Greene, former morning-show staple Lauren Whitney and meteorologist Chris Spears, who would frequently be out and about in a vehicle dubbed the CBS4 Mobile Weather Lab. Supplementing their efforts at other times, meanwhile, would be outlet veteran Dave Aguilera and Ashton Altieri, who spent six years on 9News and was tabbed to take over Whitney's old a.m. slots.
"This won't change the amount of time in a typical newscast that we devote to weather," Wieland said in October. "What we're going to do is spend a little more time explaining what is causing our weather — going deeper than just the numbers. Getting the high and low for the day is pretty easy for folks to get on their computer or their phone, so we want our reports to offer more context."
Ashton Altieri, Lauren Whitney, Ed Greene, Dave Aguilera and Chris Spears strike a pose last fall.
Photo by Evan Semon courtesy of CBS4
Whitney "does that extremely well," Wieland continued. "She's been involved in Girls & Science and STEAM [Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics] programs for years. She has a real strength in explaining the weather, getting beyond the data, and that's why we're adding her to the team."
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In retrospect, the team concept allowed CBS4 to give Whitney more prime-time exposure even as managers were talking to Greene about slowly stepping away from the spotlight. Our source says these conversations were seemingly friendly, with Greene apparently on board with everything that was happening. But what the Post describes as a "frank e-mail" about the shift suggests that he's developed a case of retirement regret.
"I guess management is ‘going in a new direction?'" the note reads. "I did not ask for ‘more time to spend with the grandkids’ (don’t have any, yet), or to spend more time at our home in Santa Fe (wife still busier than ever with her business … and we still have a student up at CU)."
It remains to be seen if the awkwardness stirred up by these sentiments will short-circuit the Greene fade-out scheme — or if he will simply put on a happy face and get on with things over the next several months. But right now, the forecast is cloudy.