Media Scene

Ghost of Betty Feezor plays a cameo in new WBTV lifestyle show

Cast of WBTV’s new “Morning Break” show, from left, are LaMonte Odums, Kristen Miranda and Chris Larson.
Cast of WBTV’s new “Morning Break” show, from left, are LaMonte Odums, Kristen Miranda and Chris Larson. WBTV

Kristen Miranda, who delivers hard news from her perch in the Alert Center on WBTV’s (Channel 3) morning news show, is intrigued with the feel-good atmosphere her new assignment will provide on an hour-long weekday lifestyle show launching on Labor Day.

Miranda, meteorologist Chris Larson and lifestyle coach LaMonte Odums will host “Morning Break” at 9 a.m. weekdays.

“Coach Odums is good at making you feel good about your life situation and Chris is hilarious,” says Miranda, who joined WBTV eight years ago. “He never gets to show how funny he is on the morning show.”

Larson will be put in unusual roles for a regular segment called “Try this, Chris!” There will also be segments on consumer news, health and cooking.

“I’m a total foodie,” says Miranda, who will visit talented cooks around the region and work with them in their kitchens on family recipes.

WBTV is installing a kitchen for the show in an auxiliary studio named for the late Betty Feezor, who had a homemaking show on Channel 3 from 1953 to 1977. “Morning Break” is a new-century extension of Feezor’s popular program, still remembered by baby boomers whose mothers rarely missed an episode in the pioneering days of local television.

Beyond her memory, a bit of Feezor’s presence was discovered in WBTV’s headquarters off Morehead Street, built in 1955. In installing the new kitchen appliances for “Morning Break,” workers came across the old fittings where Feezor’s studio kitchen once stood.

“Plumbing and the water lines for drainage are still there,” says Dennis Milligan, WBTV’s news director. “We’re just tapping right back into them after all these years.”

Unlike “Charlotte Today” with Colleen Odegaard and Eugene Robinson at WCNC (Channel 36), which offers product placements and other marketing arrangements and is produced by the station’s creative services unit, “Morning Break” is considered an extension of WBTV’s news department.

Crandall Sims will be producer and Molly Kelleher executive producer for the new show.

“Morning Break” will replace “Flip My Food With Chef Jeff” and “Fix It & Finish It,” two half-hour syndicated shows that are going out of production. Milligan says that the lack of satisfactory syndicated shows was one reason the station decided to build its own program for the time slot.

Miranda, who will continue her role in the Alert Center on the morning news, says interactivity with viewers on a variety of social media will be a key element of “Morning Break.” “We want people to feel like they are part of the conversation,” she says.