KSTP Morning Reporter Angers Viewers with Kirstie Alley Fat Joke

By Andrew Gauthier 

A lot of things can go wrong at 5 in the morning when you haven’t had enough coffee. And Rusty Gatenby, a traffic reporter for KSTP‘s morning show, can attest to that.

The Minneapolis-St. Paul ABC-affiliate had to handle a flurry of angry viewer feedback this week after Gatenby made an ill-advised quip about “Dancing With the Stars” contestant Kirstie Alley during the station’s morning newscast.

Trying to add some color to highlights from the previous night’s episode of “DWTS,” in which Alley’s dancing partner fell to the ground while supporting her during their rumba, Gatenby suggested that the actress, who is perhaps better known for her battle with weight than for her stint on “Cheers,” needs to eat more salad.

“Keep in mind, it’s 5:15 in the morning,” Gatenby told the Star Tribune about the gaffe. “I see highlights in the morning. Upon seeing it the first thing that popped into my head is something that’s been said to me before: Hey, you need to mix in a salad, buddy. Right after I said that [though] I thought ‘Humm, that’s probably not very nice to say.'”

Gatenby, who has been battling the bulge himself, said that he always thought the salad line was funny when it was directed at him.

Here’s a clip of Alley’s rumba: