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CSN Chicago Releases Susannah Collins

After well less than a year with the company, Comcast SportsNet Chicago has released popular reporter/anchor/host Susannah Collins. No specific public reason will be given by the local sports station.

Collins joined CSN Chicago last summer as a freelancer, doing some reporting for newscasts and specials, plus co-hosting the station's new sports trivia game show "Gas Money." On September 20, 2012, CSN Chicago officially hired Collins as a full-time employee. In addition to her "Gas Money" job, she did much more reporting, fill-in/weekend anchoring of their newscasts, and most of all, was a sideline/intermission/pre-game/post-game reporter for CSN Chicago's highly-rated Chicago Blackhawks telecasts.

While doing a live report from the United Center about the Blackhawks before Tuesday night's game, Collins had a slip of the tongue, saying the team had "a tremendous amount of sex..." She immediately paused and corrected herself, replacing "sex" with "success." The innocent slip-up was funny to all involved when it happened. However, videos of the slip-up then went viral on YouTube and the Internet as a whole. Having a gorgeous woman say this popular sports franchise was having "sex" proved to be highly titillating, generating millions of views. Wednesday night, "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno" played the clip of Collins' mistake on television to generate laughs, giving it an even brighter spotlight.

While it is certainly possible that the incredible amount of attention this video clip has gained proved to be too embarrassing for Comcast SportsNet officials, the station is claiming that yesterday's firing was unrelated to it.

An official statement sent to CRM has Phil Bedella, CSN Chicago's Vice President and General Manager, saying: "Due to circumstances unrelated to her on-air remarks Tuesday night, Susannah Collins and Comcast SportsNet Chicago have parted ways. We appreciate everything Susannah has contributed to our network over the past year and wish her the best in her future endeavors."

While the statement claims the firing is unrelated to Collins' split-second on-air slip-up, the timing of her release is very suspicious. It was a minor mistake, which proved to be funny, but will soon be forgotten, and certainly not damaging to CSN Chicago or the Chicago Blackhawks.

However, CSN has always had one of the strictest "no mistake" policies in place. The station has released numerous reporters, hosts, producers, and staffers over the years for not following their very uniquely strict rules.

In 2009, well prior to her joining CSN Chicago, Susannah Collins co-hosted a handful of episodes of the humorous Internet show, "Sports Nutz." This was more of an acting role than a traditional hosting situation. A few of the episodes had PG-13 type flirtations and innuendo within them. People unfamiliar with Collins work, sought out other videos of her after she became an Internet star with her "sex/success" blunder. It is possible that this added to the embarrassment factor for CSN, leading to the dismissal. It should be noted that the station was well aware of the "Sports Nutz" videos when they hired her.

Regardless of the reason or reasons behind the firing, fan reaction over the news has been overwhelmingly negative against CSN Chicago. In addition to being an attractive person, Collins was intelligent, quick-witted, knowledgeable about sports, and highly capable at her various roles with the station. More importantly, she was a fan favorite, which explains why the angry blow-back on social media and the Internet has been so strong in the last few hours since word of her release came out.

Collins, 33, was born and raised in west suburban Downers Grove. The daughter of a P.E. teacher, she has always had a deep interest in sports. At Downers Grove North High School, she was a standout volleyball and basketball player (where she was also team captain). Collins went to the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana, where she graduated in 2001 with Bachelor of Science degree in Broadcast Journalism. As an undergraduate, she worked for WPGU-FM, the campus' student-run radio station.

While at U of I, she also starred in many musical theater productions. From there, she completed a post-graduate Musical Theater program at the prestigious Mountview Academy in London, England. For a few years, Collins was seen performing in several stage shows, along with being a model on television commercials and print ads. She even had a cameo role as an alien temptress in The Bravery's music video for their single "Slow Poison."

For the two years prior to joining CSN, Susannah Collins was seen regularly on Showtime as a reporter and host on Showtime Sports' "Inside the NFL" and "Inside NASCAR." Additionally, Collins was a reporter covering MMA and boxing events for Showtime Sports. In addition to her work at Showtime, Collins has worked as a correspondent/reporter for the NFL Network, MLB.com, NBC-TV and CBS-TV.

UPDATE: CSN Chicago has confirmed that reporter anchor Chris Boden will replace Collins as the Blackhawks beat reporter and intermission reporter for the remainder of this NHL season. No decision has been made on a permanent replacement for her, nor is one expected for quite some time.


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