Weather alert: ABC 7 signs Cheryl Scott

Cheryl Scott

Cheryl Scott

Three months after she delivered her farewell forecast on WMAQ-Channel 5, Cheryl Scott is back on the radar and about to make her debut on WLS-Channel 7.

The ABC-owned station is expected to announce Monday that Scott has been signed as a full-time meteorologist and will begin working before the end of the year, sources said.

As first reported here October 20, Scott is joining ABC 7 under a three-year contract that eventually will elevate her to the top-rated 10 p.m. Monday-through-Friday newscast. The agreement was negotiated by her agent, Chicago-based attorney Andrew Stroth.

John Idler, president and general manager of ABC 7, declined to comment.

Earlier this week Scott paid a courtesy call to her former bosses at the NBC-owned station, where she attracted an enthusiastic following during three years as weekend meteorologist. The New Jersey native and Brown University graduate chose not to accept the station’s renewal offer in order to consider other options. Her final appearance was September 14.

“We were just wishing her well and thanking her for her work at NBC 5,” David Doebler, president and general manager of NBC 5, said of their visit. “She worked on our team for three years, and we wanted her to know we appreciated her efforts.”

Although NBC could have kept Scott off the air until March (at least according to one interpretation), Doebler agreed to a December 15 release, sources said.

Jerry Taft

Jerry Taft

Scott, 29, joins an experienced weather team at ABC 7 headed by chief meteorologist Jerry Taft and including Tracy Butler, Mike Caplan and Phil Schwarz. Taft, who is a 30-year veteran of the station, recently signed a two-year contract extension that runs through July 2016.

In an interview, Taft, 71, said his bosses have never discussed retirement with him and kept him in the dark about Scott until word of her hiring broke here. In fact, he still doesn’t know how she’ll be deployed at the outset. But without my asking, he said he would welcome Scott to the station wholeheartedly.

“It’s inevitable that decisions like this are made, and it’s one that I would probably make if I were the manager,” Taft said. “I thought Cheryl was very good at Channel 5 and I think she’ll do an excellent job here. It’s a smart move for us. I have no hard feeling about any of this.”

Acknowledging his new colleague’s telegenic qualities, Taft added: “You could say now I’ll be the second best looking weather person here.”