Barbed Wire: Hey, Hey Paola

WNEP-TV has lost a first-string anchor now that the uber pretty and eternally perky Paola Giangiacomo has forever left the building with nary a glance over her sexy shoulder.

Say it isn’t so, Paola. Say it isn’t so!

Apparently, the marvelous mommy of bouncing baby boys Alec and Maddox – who are both under the age of two – tried to cut her grueling schedule to part-time in order to spend more quality time with her little lads. Word on the grapevine is that the station’s brass couldn’t (or wouldn’t?) accommodate the 12-year veteran’s request and so she was forced to bid adieu to the News Station where she successfully anchored the prime time newscasts and wrangled in the ratings for more than a decade.

For those not in the know, Paola started at WNEP back in 1999 as a general assignment reporter after working in markets in Louisiana and Michigan and then closer to home at WWCP/WATM in Johnstown. After putting in long hours while climbing the proverbial ladder, she was appointed main anchor in 2002 and in 2005, was awarded a Broadcast Silver Award for her coverage of the Black and Blue Ball, a major fundraiser for the Muscular Dystrophy Association and, if I remember correctly, where she met her hunky hubby Andrew Weinberger.

I know. I was there. I actually stepped on her dainty little foot out on the dance floor while the adroit Andrew twirled her about like Cinderella on steroids. And yes, she still speaks to me in light of my egregious gaffe.

Anyhoots, while Paola’s dedicated viewers will forever miss her classic beauty, professionalism and grace, I’m sure her three biggest fans – Andrew, Alec and Maddox -are over the moon to have the Paola Giangiacomo marathon now available to them 24-7.

Meanwhile, WNEP’s Scott Shaffer saw his three-year contract renewed and when he posted the announcement on Facebook, viewers congratulated him while simultaneously asking when Paola was returning. Odd that the station hasn’t officially announced her departure, don’t you think?

And I wasn’t thinking when I gate-crashed the Lackawanna Valley Heritage Authority’s premiere of Legacy, an hour-long documentary that chronicles the noble venture’s grassroots inception only to run smack-dab into LVHA executive director Natalie Gelb upon my arrival at the Scranton Cultural Center.

"Well hello, Rube," she purred as she scanned the guest list to see if I had actually made reservations. By the time she looked back to me, however, I was already inside the doors, cabernet in hand, and chatting up Scranton Mayor Chris Doherty as if I belonged.

The gala affair, mind you, proved a class act and then some with the area’s movers and shakers rubbing elbows with the region’s beau monde. Natalie’s adorable son Bobby Solfanelli made a sultry appearance and I must say, his flowing new beard made him more apt to be a member of the Donner Party rather than the event’s swanky after-party.

You’ve got to love a man who offers full facial rug burn.

Also spotted meandering about the splendid soiree was the architecturally sound John Palumbo as well as Ad Man to the stars John Boy Cosgrove. By the time I licked my plate clean following the deliciously decadent meal prepared by Accentuate Catering, I imbibed in some eye candy in the fetching form of tasty caterer Paul Wanas as he cleared off a few tables. When it comes to movie premieres, I just love a happy ending.