Sportscaster Jim Hill, who left Channel 2 for Channel 7 in 1988, will return to Channel 2 as the station’s sports director.
Hill, whose contract at Channel 7 has expired, will start his new position on Thursday, reporting on the USC-Northeast Louisiana NCAA tournament game at Milwaukee.
Hill will be in Tempe, Ariz., the next night for UCLA’s first-round game against Robert Morris.
Hill will regularly do the sports on the 5, 6 and 11 weeknight news shows, plus do the late Sunday night wrap-up.
Rory Markas, who has been hired as a television announcer for the Milwaukee Brewers, will move to weekends, and Gil Stratton will continue to fill in.
Last year, Channel 2 began de-emphasizing sports, cutting back on the weeknight segments and cutting the Sunday night show from half an hour to 15 minutes.
Now, Hill said, station management has told him that there will be more emphasis on sports.
He also said a key factor was that his three-year contract with CBS calls for him to also do NFL play-by-play for the network.
“It’s great to come back to Channel 2 and rejoin my friends there,” Hill said. “I knew (general manager) Steve Gigliotti when he was the director of sales at Channel 2.
“Leaving Channel 7 was a tough decision, but one I had to make.”
Among those cheering the decision is ousted news anchor Jim Lampley, who has turned down Channel 2’s offer to become the sports director, a position he formerly held.
“My hope was that the station would go out and get an established, big-name sportscaster, and that’s exactly what they did. I couldn’t be more pleased,” Lampley said.
A source said Lampley’s news anchor contract runs through the middle of next year, and that he is currently being paid. As for his future, Lampley said only that he hopes to find employment in Los Angeles.
Radio station KMPC, which will go to an all-sports format next month, is interested in Lampley.
“Len Weiner (the station’s new program director) and I are friends,” Lampley said. “We worked together at (New York radio station) WFAN.”