For the first time in 17 years, Fox 11’s "Good Day L.A." aired without Dorothy Lucey as permanent co-host this week, as fans continued protests that began last week via Twitter, Facebook and posts on the television station’s website.
After being fired from the show she helmed with Steve Edwards and frenemy/“sister” Jillian (Barberie) Reynolds, Lucey was free to take her middle-school-age son to school Tuesday and to begin laying plans for a post-"GDLA" future.
“I was really surprised and deeply touched,” Lucey said about the many social media messages supporting her over the last week. “Morning TV is kind of intimate. People are watching you in their jammies and they feel close to you.”
Lucey has been talking to producer Nigel Lythgoe (“So You Think You Can Dance”) about a show focused on the charitable group run by “The Good News Girls” — Los Angeles new personalities Lucey, Wendy Burch, Pat Harvey, Ana Garcia and Christine Devine.
She has also been contacted by other TV executives and pondered writing a book. The subject? “God and gossip,” she said. “I have been torn as a nice Christian girl who has done a lot of smutty gossip reporting in her life. That has been big and push and pull.”
Lucey had said last week she didn’t feel much like sitting through a send-off program celebrating her KTTV tenure, particularly for the same managers who declined to renew her contract. “The suits, as they fired me, they asked me and I don’t want to celebrate being fired,” she said on the air.
But as it turned out, her co-hosts noted her departure on both Thursday and Friday — Reynolds by apologizing for some unflattering comments she made about Lucey when Reynolds was a guest on Howard Stern’s radio show.
“I’ve said some dumb, dumb things and I just want to say,” Reynolds began, before apparently choking back tears, “I just want to say, I think that’s what’s made this show what it is, that you and I have not always agreed. But we are like sisters and…. I love you.”
Reynolds blamed The Times for using the Lucey departure to raise the old accounts about feuding between the co-hosts. “That was so five years ago,” she told the audience, while suggesting that the newspaper wanted to write bad things about the morning show in order to help rival KTLA Channel 5. KTLA, like The Times, is owned by Tribune Co.
Although some bloggers mocked the teary rapprochement between the two women, a source close to Lucey said she appreciated Barberie’s words. The two have become close, despite past disputes, said the source, who asked not to be named while sharing a private conversation with Lucey.
Among those tweeting their support to Lucey in recent days have been television personalities Simon Cowell and Piers Morgan. Wrote Cowell: “I love Good Day LA. But cannot imagine it without Dorothy. I wish they would change their minds. I really, really like her.”
Former sitcom star and fitness maven Suzanne Somers, who saw her run on the mega-hit “Three’s Company” cut short by a contract dispute, also tweeted support for Lucey. “U will be missed,” she wrote. “I remember another show with three people they broke up the chemistry over a contract.”
-- James Rainey
Photo: Dorothy Lucey, left, Steve Edwards and Jillian Reynolds of "Good Day L.A." are seen in 2000. Credit: Adam Sheridan Taylor / KTTV