IT HAPPENS all the time on daytime TV: A longtime couple who you would have sworn was practically Gorilla Glued together blows apart, dramatically, publicly, when a younger woman pops into the picture.
But to see it happen at the G-rated Rose Parade? Live? And wet?
Three days later and still it's the talk of the town: Stephanie Edwards, L.A.'s explanation for why they call them "TV personalities," got exiled to the storm-swept bleachers for Monday's Rose Parade after about a quarter of a century of cohabiting the cozy KTLA broadcast booth with another TV personality, Bob Eubanks.
And while plucky, perky Stephanie was outside as wet as Flipper, Eubanks -- preternaturally eternal in a Dick Clark way, the onetime local DJ who mortgaged his house to get the Beatles to L.A., the host of the sniggering, groundbreaking game show "The Newlywed Game" -- was still warm and snug and a trifle smug up there in the booth with
I don't know when Pereira was born, but it can't have been too many years on either side of the New Year's Day that Stephanie and Bob began their once-a-year broadcast marriage.
Through decades of broadcasts, Steph and Bob became a familiar couple -- a little amiable bickering, a little simpatico chit-chat, she chirpy and tireless, he sounding sometimes as if he hadn't had his coffee yet.
That was part of the reason to watch. When he remarked to Edwards on Monday that "there's no end to your limitations," it could have been a slip of the tongue -- or a slip of the knife.
If Edwards' new "roving co-host" assignment is such a great job, as KTLA claims, why didn't they put Pereira out there? She's from Canada -- she's used to bad weather. And she could use the seasoning in the trenches. People have been talking about her limitations.
Having imbibed the Disneyland Kool-Aid -- she used to work for a Disney outfit -- she primly scolded Eubanks when he spoke of Disney characters in the parade as actual people in costume (which they are, but oh, don't spoil it for the kids ... right).
She talked about the "wonderful" Newport Beach jazz festival -- wrong city, wrong state, wrong coast. And, most gravely for any journalist -- her job description as a co-anchor -- she called parade Grand Marshal Sandra Day O'Connor (the first woman on the U.S. Supreme Court) a "Superior Court justice." The whole thing, in the words of one post-parade blogger, was a New Coke moment.
Edwards had been dropping hints, like after the quiche and asparagus spears at the Sierra Madre Women's Club luncheon nearly three years ago, that KTLA was ready to give her the boot. One blogger reported that in a speech last month, she said she'd been told by her bosses that she was getting "a bit long in the tooth" for the booth.
Eubanks will be 68 on Sunday. Edwards just turned 61 -- and she's too old to pair with him. Aren't we over that yet? The icky, letchy, older man-younger woman anchor team -- it's so '70s. And '80s. And now, I guess, '00s.
Twenty years ago, a California anchorwoman who began and ended her career here was suing the corporate owners of a station that had fired her after telling her she was "too old, too ugly and not deferential enough to men." Christine Craft was 37, pretty but with surfer-girl wrinkles, and she irked her male colleagues by talking knowledgeably about things like sports -- that hussy. She won two jury trials and half a million bucks, but federal judges overturned the juries, and the Supreme Court justices backed them up.
All but one.
Sandra Day O'Connor was the only justice on the high court who voted to hear Craft's case.
If this isn't O'Connor's wish for next year's Rose Parade, it sure is mine: Bob Eubanks, down on Colorado Boulevard, shivering in what passes for cold around here, and Stephanie Edwards, up in the booth, cozy and warm, with another new co-host, one that makes even bigger headlines: Heath Ledger.