After a strange May 30 newscast in which he slurred words and seemed to lose the ability to read from the teleprompter, longtime KTVU anchor disappeared from the air to "focus on his health," and he reappeared with no explanation of his absence on Wednesday night's "10 O'Clock News."
Fans of Somerville's expressed relief and happiness about his return in replies to an unrelated post he put on Facebook on Wednesday before the broadcast, which was about his daughter starting her senior year in high school. It was his first post since May 26.
But, as the East Bay Times reports, neither the station nor Somerville himself have publicly addressed the elephant in the room, which is the reason for his alarming behavior that night in May and why he took a nine-week leave of absence. A spokesperson for Fox earlier said, "We can confirm Frank is taking time away from the desk to focus on his health and we welcome his return when he is ready."
When asked about Somerville in a Facebook comment on her own page recently, co-anchor Julie Haener didn't offer much. But when asked if he was sick, she said, "No he’s doing well … taking a little time for himself and should be back soon!"
Local media gadfly Rich Lieberman said in a June blog post that he'd texted with Somerville right after the incident and Somerville claimed he had mistakenly taken an Ambien before going on air, and it was just a silly mistake. Over a month later, Liberman said, Somerville stopped returning his texts.
The fans on Facebook aren't asking too many questions, and are just welcoming Somerville back. He's been a fixture on Bay Area news since 1991, and has been in the anchor seat at KTVU since 2008, following the retirement of Dennis Richmond.
"The 10 O'Clock News" on KTVU remains the Bay Area's highest-rated news broadcast.
As one fan writes, I’m soooo happy to see you back anchoring the news! Life has returned back to normal! Glad your health is ok and whatever you were going through."
Below, the infamous broadcast, which finished with Haener alone at the anchor desk.