Over the past week, Denver television has seen a series of notable departures: Natalie Tysdal left KWGN's popular Daybreak program to build her own digital network, 9News reporter/anchor Ryan Haarer embarked on a new career in real estate, and Becky Ditchfield, a favorite 9News weathercaster for nearly fourteen years, stepped away for personal reasons involving her family and more.
But there's also been a high-profile return: Ed Greene, who spent decades on the Denver airwaves, most recently at CBS4, has stepped into Ditchfield's prognostication role. And while the gig is officially designated as temporary, he says his appearances could go on for months — and perhaps even longer.
"It's my understanding that I'm just there helping them out ," Greene says — but if audience response remains as strong as it's been since his first appearance on Monday, February 1, he adds that he's open to a longer-term commitment. "We'll see how everyone is feeling," he allows. "But right now, I'm having a lot of fun."
This isn't Greene's first stint at 9News. "I was actually there from 1996 to 2001," he recalls. "They made an offer, and I thought, 'Let's give it a shot.' And they said, 'For your first assignment, we'll send you to the Olympics in Atlanta.' And I said, 'Let's go!'"
Greene subsequently became the head forecaster at CBS4, where he stayed until 2017, when a slow-motion retirement transition to successor Lauren Whitney led to an awkward exit. Afterward, he remained in the public ear by way of appearances for local iHeart radio staple KOA, only to be swept up in a wave of cost-cutting — though he continues to be heard on outlets owned by the broadcasting giant. He's the host of podcasts for Blue Heron Capital, which are heard Saturday mornings on KHOW, as well as Freedom 97.3 and AM760 on Sunday mornings. Moreover, he's been serving as the spokesperson for Mintz Law Firm in Lakewood, though he agreed to step back from these efforts after accepting 9News's latest invitation.
In describing the way his 9News homecoming came together, he points out that "February is book," a reference to ratings earned during that month helping to set ad rates for the next few months, "and they couldn't find anybody who just set them on fire. They didn't want to just grab a guy from Poughkeepsie and put him in there. So about two weeks ago, they contacted me and made a lovely offer."
At the time, Greene and his wife were planning to spend an extended stretch at a second home in Santa Fe; she's there now. Nonetheless, he was intrigued by the prospect of getting back before the camera and says he ultimately figured, "Let's give it a go." He came into the station, where Ditchfield tutored him on the equipment — not too difficult a process, since the weather gear was similar to a system he'd operated at CBS4.
On the eve of his first show back on the air, Greene made a low-key announcement. "I didn't want to make a big deal about it," he explains, "so I went on my Facebook page and said, 'I'm back on TV. I'm going to fill in for a while.' And within hours, I got 624 likes and 218 comments. And then, the next morning, the people at Channel 9 said their Twitter account just exploded, with messages like, 'Thank goodness he's back' and 'Nice move.' The response was good, and it was very nice to see that people hadn't forgotten me."
Tim Ryan, director of content for 9News, tells Westword that Greene is "filling in...on an interim basis while we continue to recruit for a permanent replacement." According to Greene, this process could go quickly or may drag on "for five or six months" — and he's committed to filling the gap no matter how long it takes.
If, at some point during that span, management decides that the person they're seeking is Greene, he'll listen to them, as well as to viewers. With a laugh, he concludes, "We'll have to see if people say, 'He's older than I remember!'"
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