After an 18-month break, former WSB anchor JaQuitta Williams is back on TV news, this time with CBS Atlanta starting today.
[CLARIFICATION on July 8: Williams was on the 4, 6 and 11 p.m. news July 7 to introduce herself. This item earlier had it stated she'd be working those newscasts. News director Steve Schwaid said her schedule has not been clarified yet.)
"At events, people would bombard me with questions," she said. "They'd ask me, 'When are you coming back? We miss you so much. We miss your smile.' "
She said she needed the time away from broadcast news to try other things after her breast cancer treatment but decided "to just stop running away from TV news and instead, run towards it. This is the right time for this opportunity."
Steve Schwaid, the news director, said she will be doing reporting and anchoring. He said with the addition of a 5 p.m. newscast this fall, she will be part of that mix for sure. More details, he said, will be forthcoming.
He and Williams have been talking about doing something for months, he said.
“She brings all the energy, the excitement and local knowledge, everything we could want,” he said.
Williams will also do a “Closeups”-type specials, he added.
Stephany Fisher has been doing solo anchoring at 11 p.m. since Bill Gaines abruptly quit last year.
Williams worked at WSB from 2004 to 2008 as a reporter and weekend anchor. An Augusta native, she had breast cancer in 2007 but was able to recover fully. She told me in 2008 that journey led her to depart at the time. Here’s an excerpt of what I wrote on this blog at the time:
“When I came back from my cancer journey in January, I was different, ” she said. “I wanted my life to be more enjoyable. I wanted to do other things.”
While thinking about staying or going, she looked for signs. She found two: her Blackberry stopped working, then her laptop was stolen out of the WSB-TV van while she covered a church fire.
Ultimately, she had nothing but good things to say about WSB itself and was appreciative that they let her tell her breast cancer story on air. (Essence magazine has a story about her in October’s issue.)
Williams said she has a new job lined up but with respect to WSB, won’t reveal what it is until after she leaves.
Better yet, she noted: “I am cancer free. My last mammogram in August was clean. I’m in a wonderful place. I’m so excited!”
According to her online bio, her favorite moments have been interviewing the late legendary R&B singer James Brown and meeting with former V-103er Robin Roberts, now “Good Morning America” host. Both were diagnosed with breast cancer in July 2007 and had surgery, chemo and radiation at the same time.
She has been acting, singing and doing free-lance work since she left the station. I ran into her last year when she worked on “Musical Theater of Hope,” a project actor/producer Robert Townsend put together. It aired on the Gospel Music Channel.
Williams has also done some acting jobs with Tyler Perry for “House of Payne” and an upcoming episode of “Meet the Browns.” She’s worked with Home Depot on some projects, as well as playwright Kenny Leon.
If you’d like to reach out to Williams directly, her work email is Jaquitta.Williams@cbsatlanta.com.