Actress & Addict


“I think there’s a huge misconception that if a doctor gives you a pill it’s okay to take it and if the doctor says you have to take it for the rest of your life that that’s okay too. I think people are getting cheated out of a really, really wonderful experience on this planet by taking drugs.”

Those are the words of award winning actress and recovering addict Melanie Griffith.


By now you are familiar with her background. The daughter of Alfred Hitchcock muse Tippi Hedren, child bride of Don Johnson, baby-doll voiced star of “Working Girl”, wife to Antonio Banderas, and mother of 4. Her struggle with addiction has shadowed all of that. Alcohol and drugs, illegal, and prescription. Griffith, who turns 57 in August, is in Atlanta to speak at the largest prescription drug abuse conference in the country. In our conversation today she half-joked that she’d “taken enough drugs to know” how wonderful a drug free life can feel. She describes her recovery from decades of substance abuse as being released from prison. Her impossibly girlish tone belies the very serious demons she has tackled. She shared with me that five years ago, her oldest daughter Dakota Johnson and youngest daughter Stella Banderas came to her during one of her dark days and said “Mom, we’re afraid you’re going to die.” It was that moment Griffith began her recovery. She candidly told me while choking back tears:

“My family, my kids especially who are 17, 24, 28, and 31 are proud of me today, you know? It was not that way five years ago.”

Griffith said coming to terms with her addictive personality and facing a sort of unknown fear she felt saddled with were integral parts of sobering up. And that having spent her life acting like someone else for a living it was time to be herself saying:

“I think the biggest problem with addicts and taking drugs is that you don’t know yourself, you don’t love yourself. And I don’t think any kind of pill or drug or alcohol can help you do that.”

I admire Griffith for exposing her weaknesses in order to grow stronger and help strenghten others. To insist that if people are going to feed off the low points of her life then they must pull up a chair at the table of celebration for the high ones.

melanie family

L to R – Dakota Johnson, Tippi Hedren, Melanie Griffith, Stella Banderas

To watch my entire interview with Melanie Griffith – click here

On my mind – 4/10/14


Sorry it’s been so long since we spoke. The Fisher group got extremely sick right after the Georgia marathon. Coincidence? Hmmmm. That will teach me to participate in this so-called “physical activity.”

Actually, Lucy and I had a great time in the marathon’s Luckie 5K. She wore a GoPro camera so the station could have a runner’s view of the race. It was a mild morning, we caught MARTA to avoid traffic, and celebrated with a delicious brunch after it was over. There was no indication on that day we would all get so sick.

luckie 5k

The only benefit to being sick is lying very still and catching up on TV shows. I devoured the entire 5 seasons of ‘Breaking Bad.’ I don’t know why I was so late to that party. What a show. Wow. Now I see why Bryan Cranston was nominated EVERY YEAR for an Emmy and Golden Globe. It wasn’t always easy to watch and yet I could not turn away.

breaking bad

I also recently binge watched ‘American Horror Story’ at the request of my daughter who loved it. Also not always easy to watch but the great Jessica Lange is everything in this series.

ahs lange

Speaking of TV, I’m eager for ‘Mad Men’ and ‘Newsroom’ to resume for their final seasons. Hate that both are ending though. Even after being blown away by Cranston in ‘Breaking Bad’, I’d still vote for Jeff Daniels for best actor in a TV drama. His Will McAvoy in ‘Newsroom’ is such a great character. Although one could argue Jane Fonda steals the series away from him and everyone else.

Saw where Netflix is debuting an original series on Pablo Escobar. That may be the perfect fix for my ‘Breaking Bad’ withdrawals. If it’s anywhere as good as Netflix’s other baby ‘House of Cards’ I won’t be disappointed.

Don’t let this insane amount of TV viewing lead you to believe the weather has been lousy or that I haven’t had anything to do. Spring is here and it’s glorious. After this epic winter, it’s time. It has gotten me excited for our annual trips to the river and beach. And has me out walking our dogs at every opportunity. Bring on that southern sunshine!


The sunshines of my life have had some disappointment this spring. Hubs traveled to Augusta Monday to watch the first practice round of The Masters and was rained out. That hasn’t happened for 11 years!

And my little angel did not make the cheerleading squad for next year as she had hoped. She prepared, practiced hard, and said she nailed the tryout but unfortunately she did not make the cut. My stellar parenting advice was that “sometimes life sucks” because really sometimes it does.

This child is nothing if not resilient and confident. There were tears, yes. But those dried quickly as she made plans to try out for the basketball cheer squad when school begins. Keep trying, baby. Keep trying.


I’m trying right now to get ready for May sweeps, my hubby’s big birthday next week, and yes, for the next TV show worth my time. Any suggestions…?

game of thrones

Your turn.

Racing toward spring


Today is the first day of spring. A certain sign of this most welcome season change is the Georgia Marathon. It is Sunday in downtown Atlanta and once again CBS46 is a proud sponsor. This not only means we have been pimping it like mad for months, that our logo is proudly displayed on the runner’s shirts, and that we are hosting a health fair at the Georgia World Congress Center Friday and Saturday, but that I am participating in the race this year! Now hold on, I’m not running a marathon. Nor am I tackling the half-marathon. But rather me and my daughter are running the 5K. And by running I mean walking. I have never been much of a runner and I passed that skill right along to her. But we do enjoy walking, breathing in fresh air, feeling the spring sunshine on our faces, and being together, albeit this time with about 20,000 people. My teenager has volunteered to strap a Go Pro camera to her body for the race so we can show our viewers what it was like to be part of the event. I’m certain she will be interviewed after the race too so we can put together a story of the entire day. (I passed that trait onto her too!) Several of my collegues will be alongside us Sunday morning at 7:30 as we wind our way through the expanse of Centennial Olympic Park, the historic southern neighborhoods that surround the city, and the shadows of the skyscrapers of Midtown.

We have race shirts to wear that show a runner’s form comprised of all our names.

marathon shirts

We have jerseys to wear to the health expo as we invite viewers to be on “Team 46.”


And we will have a large booth at the start line with water, fruit, and CBS46 swag. After an ice storm, snow storm, and epic traffic gridlock I for one am ready to usher in springtime as I cross the finish line Sunday with thousands of Atlantans, my friends, and my girl.

lucy walking
Lucy and our cocker spaniel Sadie at the Alpharetta Greenway

Cable TV


Can we please talk about how good cable television is? I realize this is not a new thought but as I sat speechless after the finale of yet another cable drama last night I was reminded why big name film stars take on TV projects, how cable networks have the money and talent to put great stories on air, and how nice it is to watch all of it from my couch. You could argue the series that started the cable news dominance was “The Sopranos” on HBO. I have watched only the first season and not because it isn’t interesting but because I have so many other shows to get to! “The Wire”, “House of Lies”, “Game of Thrones”, “True Blood”, “Breaking Bad”, “Mad Men”, “The Walking Dead”, “House of Cards”, “True Detective.” I have heard of but not watched all of these. Several I have devoured every season. The one that came to a gripping end last night was “True Detective” on HBO. Only eight episodes long and for only one season, it featured, in my opinion, career best performances from Woody Harrelson and Matthew McConaughey. The story was horrifying, gritty, at times funny and even poignant. It ended perfectly, not “Hollywood” style, but like a good crime novel would, realistically. That is was based on a novel is likely why. That it was paid for by cable TV and not a major movie studio is probably another reason why. You aren’t trying to put butts in the seats. You’re offering entertainment to your subscribers. The finale was so good it actually crashed HBO’s online viewing feature HBO GO temporarily. I also recently binge watched the two episodes of the Netflix original series “House of Cards.” Again, the best performances I’ve ever seen from two extremely talented stars, Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright. If you don’t know, Netflix releases the entire season at once so those of us with no self control can indulge in the whole thing right away and then complain about having to wait a year for the next season. “Mad Men” is a Sunday night favorite in my house, as is “Game of Thrones” and “True Blood”, although the latter seems to be limping toward its series finale which I’m too invested in now to back out of. I’m also a fan of “The Newsroom”, “Orange is the New Black”, and “American Horror Story.” In the Fisher house there are 6 TV’s, 3 Apple tv devices, 4 blu-ray players, an XBOX 360, Wii console, 3 iPads, a laptop and desktop computer. There is no shortage of places to watch the unlimited amount of entertainment available right now. Award winning movies, great independent films, network television shows, all of it a click away and in most every room of our home and yet, we find ourselves turning to cable TV series more than anything else to escape for an hour or two.

If you watch nothing else this spring, see “True Detective” (HBO GO is back up and running!)

true detective

and “House of Cards”

house of cards

Cable television at its best.

Oscars 2014


You know I love an awards show and last night was Hollywood’s biggest. Now, I’m right in the middle of a “House of Cards – Season 2″ binge so it was hard to tear myself away for 3 1/2 hours of rich people patting each other on the back but I forced myself. Thought Ellen did a decent enough job. I like comedy that’s a little edgier but that’s not Oscars’ style. Loved the selfie with all the stars and yes, I was one of the some two million people who retweeted it. “Stars: They’re Just Like Us!”


Found Jared Leto’s speech to be wonderfully heartfelt and Lupita N’yongo’s to be an extension of the sweet young woman she appears to be. Although I do always find it amusing that stars think somehow their stardom is enough to inspire the troubled people or parts of our world to rise above said troubles. As if celebrity is the unviersal answer. Yep, it was too long. Please Oscar producers on behalf of tired movie lovers everywhere, kill the montages. The show doesn’t have to have a theme. Last night’s was heroes and villians or something like that. Handing out awards is theme enough. Probably didn’t need Bette singing after the dead actors montage and while I do love Pink, you coulda cut the “Wizard of Oz” tribute song. The pizza bit was too long, they need to space out the big awards better, and I can’t even with Travolta butchering Idina Menzel’s name. Embarrassing to say the least. But I did think the Academy got it right with the acting awards. Matthew McConaughey is having an incredible career resurgence. “Dallas Buyers Club” is very good, as was “Mud” and you need to be watching “True Detective” with him and Woody Harrelson on HBO. Leto was excellent in “Dallas”, too. Cate Blanchett can do no wrong in my book. I believe she is one of the finest actresses working today. And while I have not yet worked up the courage to watch “12 Years a Slave”, I am quite taken with its award winning star, Lupita, if for no other reason than she is such a gorgeous fashionista. “Gravity” deserved every technical award and then some (in fact, I think it may have won all of them!) and as infectious as “Happy” by Pharrell Williams is, “Let it Go” is a beautiful song and my daughter and her friends know every single word. The fashion didn’t disappoint either. Lupita was stunning in ice blue and that headband is a perfect punctuation.

Lupita 2014

I think this is the best Sandra Bullock has ever looked on a red carpet with soft curls instead of her pin straight hair and a beautifully draped blue gown.

Sandy 2014

But it is Miss Charlize that will win my vote again this year. (She snagged it last year in a white Dior). This black Dior, those diamonds, that face, the attitude. Flawless, girl.

Charlize 2014

Now back to “House of Cards!”



I will fully admit my station has an identity crisis. And has since I walked in the door in March, 2003. It will find it’s footing for two, maybe three years, and then it will trip over itself. The problem lies not with its people or the talent of them. It lies not with the managers, each has worked to provide an identity, only to have it changed by the next one. Change, as you’ve heard me talk about many times here, is as much a part of broadcasting as working microphones. But too much change in too short a time span can make for confusing viewing. When I was a kid, there were 3 stations. You knew what your TV news options were and they had a STRONG brand, look, mission statement. As I aged and cable entered our lives we were for the first time presented with choices. Choice, in some instances, will make an existing brand stronger. In others however, it creates the need to reinvent to grab the viewer’s attention. The CBS station I have spent half of my career at now is the Madonna of stations. Reinvention is our brand. Each incarnation of the brand has been good. Some better than others but most were solid. Their lack of success was not for a lack of quality, but committment. In the constantly changing landscape of television news, you cannot expect something to gain traction in a few years. People have countless things vying for their attention every time they turn on the set. Hundreds upon hundreds of channels, a barrage of images, a myriad of noises, so much to process. It’s any wonder anything can cut through it. A brand must be a brand for a looooong time for most people to even begin to recognize it, let alone indentify with it. This brings me to our latest and in my opinion best brand yet. After being Clear News, Atlanta’s News Channel, CBS 46, & CBS Atlanta, we are returning to our roots and becoming once again CBS46 on Tuesday. We have a beautiful new set with a breathtaking view of Atlanta behind the news desk displayed on what has to be one of the largest monitors on air at any local TV station. There is a really cool weather center that’s not only fully functional for forecasting and making graphics but fun for the meteorologists to use. There is a kitchen area, interview set, morning set, and several in studio locations boasting large monitors and tables. It is the nicest studio I’ve not only ever worked in but ever seen. Our focus as a station is on money – protecting, saving, helping spend wisely – so our viewers can grow to trust us in this uncertain economy. Our mission is “Working for a Better Atlanta.” We have streamlined our image, hired energetic new talent and re-positioned our exisiting newsroom leaders. We have fine tuned our purpose to focus on what’s happening right now. May sound like a ‘no duh, isn’t that what news is’ but you’d be surprised how easy it is to drift from that simple philosophy. Having seen and survived 11 years of changes here, I was skeptical of this latest round, frankly, I didn’t know if I had another one in me and I allowed the failure of the previous tries to creep into my conciousness. But here we are. Weeks after cramming into a tiny, hot temporary studio (which was something to behold after 24 hours of solid weather coverage), night after night of skipping dinner to rehearse in our new digs, emails, meetings, hours of lighting and image consulting, and its time to do what we’ve always done in the reliable way we’ve always done it, just with this new look. I like what I see. I hope you will too.

Anchor desk

Weather Center

My view

Atlanta seen in one of the many smaller monitors in studio

Super monitor behind anchor desk

Our new live trucks
live truck

Round 2


It’s saying something that the most extensive winter weather coverage I’ve ever done has been during my years living in a southern state. Here in Atlanta we are on the tail end of our second winter storm in two weeks. The first, you’ll remember, involved an eight hour commute into work, two hours of sleep on the floor of my cubcicle, and national attention for having made a list of the worst traffic jams in world history. This one, 20 hours of continuous coverage, two nights in a downtown hotel that may have been new during the Olympics in ’96, and more processed food eaten while anchoring than can possibly be healthy. Throw in an ice storm in 2011, historic flooding after days of rain in 2009, and a tornado that struck downtown Atlanta in 2008 and well, you may understand why when our meteorologists say “this storm will be catastropic” you pay attention. It was not a catastrophe. It was a massive and unfortunately deadly storm. As I type this, hundreds of thousands remain without power, the temperatures are dropping, freezing slush and melted snow on our roads, and Atlantans are suffering from winter fatigue. I feel you. As I was leaving my home Tuesday morning (because I’ll be damned if I was going to get caught in traffic for half a day again!) my daughter was bemoaning the fact that I would be away for a few days covering the storm. Her father, who has weathered all of these events right along with me, said ‘This is when your mom is needed most. This is her job to keep people safe and informed.’ And our viewers agree, for the most part. There are always a few who have heard and seen enough and want their soap opera back on or those who cuss me out because they don’t think school should be cancelled or businesses closed and my favorite complaint this go ’round which was a man who didn’t like my professional, sensible navy blue Ralph Lauren dress I wore yesterday because I “wasn’t dressed appropriately for the weather.” I gently reminded him I was working indoors and thanked him for watching. The point is you cannot possibly please everyone. But I can, and must, inform them. This one was big. It had snow, then freezing rain, then snow, then high winds. The Governor and Mayor of Atlanta reacted swiftly and efficiently this time. Schools were closed, roads were sanded, warnings were issued. The good people of this city stayed home, turned on their sets, and asked me to reassure them. I did my best. Although there is one request I can’t fulfill – “Stephany, we love your station and what you’re doing to help us through this. Can you start spring already?”

No, but I can promise you we’ll get there together.

View from my hotel of a deserted downtown connector in Atlanta
snow city

On set with Tracye during our coverage
me and tracye

Our chief meteorologist shows what’s coming

Ready for the long haul

Progress on day 3