E! Online (via Yahoo) reports that the upcoming second season of ABC's "Dancing With the Stars" will feature "original 'Access Hollywood' host" Giselle Fernandez, better known inside the MRC as a former CBS News and NBC News reporter. (She's not the only journalist tapping toes: ESPN anchor Kenny Mayne is also in the cast.) The story features the TV writer's academic omnipresence, professor of pop culture Robert J. Thompson, cracking on ABC's lack of star power.
But ah, Giselle! She was rather unforgettable a decade ago, when she was hosting the weekend "Today" show. On May 20, 1995, she sounded like she was at a Young Democrats meeting when she asked Labor Secretary Robert Reich: "Why are we leaving such critical decisions up to the Republicans? Why didn't we come up with another more, perhaps, realistic deficit reduction budget plan?"
The other unforgettable moment of Giselle's brief career in the land of hard news came in November 1993, when she did one of the liberal media's occasional sales jobs for Castro's Cuba for CBS's morning show, then called "CBS This Morning." But Giselle sounded like Kathie Lee Gifford on a Carnival cruise ad: "Welcome to Fidel Castro's playground, Cuba's Caribbean paradise few have seen, a Cuba the Commandant is now inviting the world to enjoy. It's the promised land Cuba is hoping will guarantee a promising future. In the last two years alone, Cuba and its sultry beaches has become a major vacation hot spot."
But the real bend-over-laughing moment came when she bought the Cuban government line that they had a secret tunnel system with a nightclub and a barbershop. She passed on everything the Cubans told her: "The tunnels are built by paid workers and volunteer brigades." Fernandez asked: "So you have a club, a nightclub, in the tunnel? You have a barbershop?" Later, she again said they "told us there are more sophisticated tunnels with...a nightclub, a barbershop." Host Harry Smith asked: "Did you see any evidence of that?" "No," she replied.
Oh, and I forgot. Brent Baker likes the time she won a "Good Morning Morons" end-of-year citation in 1995 for reporting that President Clinton was in Hawaii for V-J Day celebrations, and said: "After today's ceremonies marking the end of World War II, President Clinton will head back to the United States." As if Hawaii was not in the United States.