BREAKING NEWS: Channel 5’s Stefani Schaefer Leaving

And the breaking news just keeps on coming…

The co-host of WEWS/5’s long-running 5 PM show “Live on Five” is leaving the Cleveland ABC affiliate for a big national gig.

The Cleveland Plain Dealer’s Julie Washington reports on the paper’s Entertainment blog that Stefani Schaefer will leave her seat alongside local TV veteran Leon Bibb…for a new job as one of three hosts on the upcoming NBC-produced daytime program “iVillage”.

Because of that show’s December premiere date, Schaefer will be able to stay on at “Live on Five” through the November sweeps. Channel 5 general manager John Butte is thrilled about that, and gushes to Washington that the station is “really proud of her and excited” about Schaefer’s new job.

The new show is being produced at first only for the NBC owned-and-operated stations, reports Washington, so local viewers will not see Schaefer on NBC affiliate WKYC/3 – yet.

There are plans to syndicate “iVillage” beyond the NBC owned stations, but WKYC is no longer owned by the network, so it won’t be on Channel 3 – or any Cleveland station – at the beginning. Since the show will be syndicated beyond the NBC O&O’s, it’s possible another station – say, WEWS – could pick it up once it becomes available.

Local viewers will be able to catch up with Schaefer – who’s been with WEWS since 2002 and on local TV since joining WJW/8 in 1992 – online when the “iVillage” show’s website launches…

There’s no word yet on who will replace her on “Live on Five”…

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