Dan Cooke is returning to do 'Sunrise' weather


POSTED: Tuesday, May 19, 2009

“;Gridiron”; writers, take heed: Dan Cooke is returning to Hawaii TV.

Cooke, the radio-guy-turned-TV-anchor-turned-real-estate-executive, had for years appeared in the annual “;Gridiron Show”; journalism scholarship fundraiser as Gov. Linda Lingle—and will no doubt be pressed back into theatrical service—and a dress—now that he's coming back.

The actual reason he is returning is to succeed Jeff Booth as lead weather anchor for “;Sunrise,”; KGMB-TV's morning news show, in midsummer, said News Director Chris Archer.

Booth and his family are moving back to the mainland, and his last day is tomorrow, the end of the Nielsen ratings period.

To help fill the gap between Booth's departure and Cooke's arrival, as well as cover Hawaii's impending hurricane season, “;we are also hiring Ben Gutierrez,”; Archer said.

Gutierrez, former weather anchor and general assignment reporter at KITV, was let go in station cost-cutting at the end of last year.

They are “;two power-players in the market, well known and really solid individuals, definitely two guys we want on our team,”; said Archer.

“;I feel so lucky to be coming home to Hawaii,”; Cooke said. “;I've missed my friends, the beaches, the incredible weather and, oh yeah, Hawaiian food. ... You just can't find good squid luau in Los Angeles.”;

Cooke started his Hawaii broadcast career in 1976 on KIOE-AM 1080, the old “;K-108,”; and later got into TV, working at KITV and KHNL between 1987 and 2002.

“;Dan used to baby-sit Taizo Braden,”; Archer confided, er, said on the record. Braden is the “;Sunrise”; traffic reporter.

Cooke got into real estate following his last TV job and had been working in Southern California.

While he wraps things up on the mainland to prepare for his return, Gutierrez will join weather anchor Malika Dudley, sharing duty “;on 'Sunrise' and the weekends,”; Archer said.

Gutierrez, also formerly in radio, started at KHVH-AM in 1991 when it was an all-news station at 990 on the dial.

“;(The late) Bob Sevey and the KGMB News team were a huge influence on my career choice, even when I was a kid,”; Gutierrez said. “;This may sound corny but it's absolutely true. I'd watch them just about every night.”;

“;Nice Hawaii days aside, the primary purpose of being a weather anchor is to keep people informed when conditions become a threat to life and property,”; he said.

Also a “;Gridiron”; star, often in stilts portraying Mayor Mufi Hannemann or without stilts as former Gov. Ben Cayetano or real-estate addict Genshiro Kawamoto, Gutierrez looks forward to being reunited with Cooke.

Both anchors will make appearances during today's broadcast from 4:30 to 8 a.m.

Erika Engle is a reporter with the Star-Bulletin. Reach her by e-mail at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).