Who needs afternoon soaps when we have the ongoing saga of CBS3? First, the station has to pay big bucks to keep tabloid-titillating anchorbabe Alycia Lane. Now, her former on-air partner, Mr. Perfect Pancake, Larry Mendte is being investigated for hacking into hundreds of her private emails. We repeat, hundreds.

Mendte's off the air but CBS3 must continue to pay him an estimate $700,000 a year? At this point, the station may be shelling out more for its off-the-air former anchorbot team than the cumulative team it has reporting the news.

As the Inquirer's Michael Klein, John Shiffman and Andrew Maykuth report this morning, station sources report Mendte did hack into Lane's private account. If the FBI finds this to be true, what was Mendte's motivation? Did he do it because he was jealous of Lane's celeb status? Was he trying to assist the career of his wife, Channel 29 newsreader Dawn Stensland, previously crowned the fairest in anchorland until Lane arrived? Or is it simply a bit of both?

Now, the FBI is investigating. If the stories prove true, and if Mendte released information to the New York tabloids and other news organizations, he consequently aided in damaging Lane's career. If so, Lane can sue Mendte for damages. This could prove a potential ratings winner that would trounce any soap.

If the managers at CBS3 are wise, they could recoup their off-air losses, turning these potential embarrassments into gold.

Call the trial, As the News Clots or The Pancaked and the Ruthless or, simply, The Ratings of Our Lives.

To paraphrase Oscar Wilde, to hire one newsreader with poor judgment may be regarded as misfortune; to hire both looks like carelessness.

Stay tuned to the next installment of News Soap Opera Digest.