After more than 25 years sharing a warm, cozy booth with co-host Bob Eubanks, Stephanie Edwards found herself perched on a rain-soaked bench Monday morning covering the 117th Tournament of Roses Parade for KTLA-TV Channel 5.
Inside the booth this year with veteran Eubanks was KTLA morning news co-anchor Michaela Pereira.
"We wanted to add Michaela as a co-host to try something new -- to expand the broadcast," said KTLA spokeswoman Carolyn Aguayo. "We had three co-hosts, basically."
But to some viewers it may not have seemed that way.
Wearing a bright-red raincoat and clasping a clear umbrella, Edwards had a few choice quips about her on-air duties this year.
"May I say hi to my mother in Minnesota, who's wondering why I'm not wearing a scarf," she told her co-hosts.
Not missing a beat, she added, "Me, too!"
At several points during the commercial-free broadcast, Eubanks and Pereira expressed their appreciation to Edwards.
"Let's go down to Stephanie," Pereira said, "Miss Stephanie, who's got the toughest job of all. Pretty as a picture."
For several years, there have been rumors of tension between Eubanks and Edwards. In a recent column, Pasadena Star-News Editor Larry Wilson wrote that Edwards had been hinting around town that KTLA was planning to move her aside.
According to Aguayo, that's far from the truth. She said Monday that Edwards and Eubanks were good friends who liked to tease each other.
The on-air quips and banter, she said, are a reflection of their sense of humor. "They are very witty."
Edwards could not be reached for comment Monday.
This year's commentary had a bite that some longtime viewers might have found unfamiliar. At one point, when Pereira asked whether the parents near the parade route were rooting for their children in the marching bands, Edwards responded, "Actually, no.... I would imagine that if some of the parents were here, they would have gone on home.
"This \o7is\f7 a storm, and the rain keeps changing direction, so the kids in these bands have rain literally blowing back in their faces," she added.
At another point, Eubanks said:
"Hey, Steph, if I don't get a chance to say it before the parade is over, you're doing a wonderful job down there. You really are."
Pereira: "You are a trouper, lady."
Edwards: "Thank you. Easy for you guys to say. You know, once you get thoroughly soaked, you might as well just stay around."
Eubanks and Pereira, in unison: "You're right."
Aguayo denied any suggestion that Edwards had been demoted and pointed out that the longtime parade announcer led the pre-parade show from 6 to 8 a.m.
"We wanted to add her there because she has Rose Parade expertise," Aguayo said. "So in actuality she was on the air twice as long as she usually is."
Aguayo said the station, which is owned by Tribune Co. (the parent company of the Los Angeles Times), selected Pereira as the new co-host because "Michaela has a pretty large following."
Pereira of Canada joined KTLA in February 2004 and was a host at the Hollywood Christmas Parade for the station.
Today, KTLA management will assess the broadcast, as they do every year, Aguayo said.