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City & State or ZIP Tonight, this weekend, May 5th...
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City & State or ZIP Tonight, this weekend, May 5th...
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Channel 2 Action News’ John Pruitt officially announces retirement

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Channel 2 Action News’ veteran evening anchor John Pruitt announced today that he will retire at the end of the year.

Pruitt, the longest-serving anchor in Atlanta, has been a familiar, iconic broadcast personality. He joined Channel 2 in 1964 and became an evening anchor in 1973. He left for WXIA-TV in 1978 but returned to Channel 2 in 1994 and has been there ever since alongside Monica Pearson.

The move had not been unexpected. Pruitt presently anchors the 6 p.m. news, having relinquished the 5 p.m. and 11 p.m. slots to his successor Justin Farmer. Farmer will take over the 6 p.m. program starting early next year.

Pearson, who said she’s going to retire in July, 2012, called him “irreplaceable. Nobody has the institutional knowledge that John has about politics in Georgia. He’s a newsman’s newsman.”

Pruitt is the longest-running on-air news anchor in Atlanta. But at age 68, he said it was the right time to leave. Though he talked about retirement 18 months ago, he said he had no issue staying so Channel 2 could have a smoother transition.

“I’ve got five grandchildren,” he said, “and soon to have six. But I don’t plan to be a man of leisure.”

According to Channel 2, Pruitt will continue to do special assignments covering politics and hosting “Georgia’s Hidden Treasures” as well as taking part in the station’s community events.

He said he’s proud of how he was able to build trust with viewers over the years in a way that helped Channel 2 cement itself as top local news station in the ratings. He also couldn’t deny the chemistry he and Pearson possessed.

“He has a natural authority about him,” Pearson said. “I’m more folksy.”

Chuck Dowdle, a sports anchor at Channel 2 from 1985 to 2009, recalled a few years ago when a reporter uttered an expletive on the air. Viewers, Dowdle said, started inundating the station with calls, infuriated.

“Then John apologized on the air for what happened,” Dowdle recalled. “He did it with such skill and eloquence that not only did the screaming phone calls stop but people began saying, ‘I sure hope you don’t punish that reporter!’ ”

Pearson said when she arrived in 1975, she was Atlanta’s first black and female evening anchor. “The phone calls were horrible,” she recalled. “People were awful. But John not only supported me but was very strong about helping me get my foot in the door. The man doesn’t have a jealous or mean bone in his body.”

When news director Marian Pittman arrived as a 6 p.m. producer in 1995, she said Pruitt was right there “with open arms. He helped me get used to the market. He set a great example. I can’t imagine the newsroom without him.”

Off air, Pearson said, Pruitt actually has a “wicked sense of humor. What you see on air is not what you see off air.” He loves to fly fish, play with his grandchildren and help his dogs deliver puppies, she said. He is also very active in charitable groups, including the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation and Literacy Action.

“You will not find a finer human being,” Dowdle said, “a man who loves this city more, a man who loves his family more, a man who cares about the craft he practices. When I walked through those double doors into the studio and John Pruitt was there, there was always a sense everything is fine.”

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135 comments Add your comment

bulldog bubba

October 13th, 2010
5:38 pm

Well Done Sir, Well Done!!!! May retirement be everything you hope it will be.

TechEE86

October 13th, 2010
6:01 pm

Good Luck John! I hope that John Bachman takes his place instead of Justin Farmer.

Janet

October 13th, 2010
6:14 pm

He’s earned it.

Charlie

October 13th, 2010
6:16 pm

Good Luck to you and retirement. May you find pleasure in doing Georgia Hidden Treasures and continue to show us those undiscovered vistas yet to be shown.

Charles

October 13th, 2010
7:00 pm

Congrats to John Pruitt and Justin Farmer. Really have enjoyed watching Justin and know you made the right choice in having him fill Pruitt’s anchor chair.

Druid Hills High

October 13th, 2010
7:00 pm

`
Go Red Devils !

He's a saint

October 13th, 2010
7:01 pm

He deserves to be happy…Lord knows he couldn’t have been happy working next to Monica all these years…..when will she retire.??? NEVER…she has it made..WSB can’t get rid of her…LMAO

Mony

October 13th, 2010
7:03 pm

You’ll be missed.

Danny Wofford

October 13th, 2010
7:04 pm

Thank you for your complete professionalism and great personality. Best wishes in your retirement.

Lisa T

October 13th, 2010
7:05 pm

Farewell to the classiest act in Atlanta TV, and I look forward to seeing John work on the projects he really enjoys!

Jan

October 13th, 2010
7:06 pm

John, you were always a consummate professional; you will be missed. Have a happy and healthy retirement.

Bama Bill

October 13th, 2010
7:12 pm

Here is another vote for John Bachman ! The young man is good !

Dave Dawg

October 13th, 2010
7:13 pm

John has been the professional face of Atlanta news for as long as I can remember (I’m 38). Congratulations on a great career and enjoy your well deserved retirement.

Oscar

October 13th, 2010
7:18 pm

Hate to see John Pruitt go, but I am excited to see Justin Farmer on the 6pm as well. He seems very smart and deliveries the news in a very appealing manner. Congratulations to the both of them. Keep up the great work Channel 2!

Justin Case

October 13th, 2010
7:20 pm

Pruitt’s a PC punk; always kissed up to the “right” people.
So long.

*poof*

Ron

October 13th, 2010
7:23 pm

This is a good move by WSB. Congratulations to John on his retirement. Justin and Jovita make a strong team and are a pleasure to watch.

Julie

October 13th, 2010
7:27 pm

Congratulations to John! Great career. Justin is really smart replacement too. He has great energy and I like the way he tells a story.

Ashton

October 13th, 2010
7:34 pm

Very happy for you John, I’ve been watching you on TV since I was a kid. You are what a news anchor should be. Good luck

Craig Ashwood

October 13th, 2010
7:41 pm

What a class act! When I moved to Atlanta back in 1980–back then, John was on WXIA. Thank God we were able to get him to move to WSB (I work for Cox) and what an amazing run he’s had. John, best wishes for a fantastic retirement and enjoy every moment with your grandchildren! We’ll miss you.

Richard Bagge

October 13th, 2010
7:41 pm

Happy retirement, John! I had not realized that you’ve been doing this job longer than I’ve been alive!

John

October 13th, 2010
7:42 pm

He looks young for his age, good for him.

Mase1

October 13th, 2010
7:43 pm

May your retirement be sweet! You ARE ATLANTA! Good Luck on your next journey! WAY 2 GO!!!

DHHS grad in the mountains

October 13th, 2010
7:45 pm

One constant you can always count on is the steady, informed and unbiased reporting of the news by John. He has not changed one bit from when we first me when he was still in highschool. He has set the standard for professionalish over these many years and my family and I will miss him on the news but he has certainly earned a long and enjoyable retirement. Bill D.

TPM

October 13th, 2010
7:48 pm

Is he retiring the toupee as well?

Electra

October 13th, 2010
7:51 pm

He’ll be honored at enAble of Georgia Foundation’s 23rd Annual Gala on March 12, 2011 (www.enablega.org).

Dan the Man

October 13th, 2010
7:55 pm

John Pruitt, you were a legend. Farmer’s a great choice and WSB has handled the transition well.

MARLENE

October 13th, 2010
7:55 pm

God Bless You John , Have A Wonderful Retirement ! You Will Surely Be Missed .

JD

October 13th, 2010
7:57 pm

John, I’ve been watching you every year you’ve been on the air. I trust you and you will be sorely missed. God Bless you in retirement, you’re looking mighty good for 68 years old my friend. Time to enjoy things a bit more and do some things you’ve been putting off.

Best of luck sir, well deserved…

Dawnee 70

October 13th, 2010
7:58 pm

Bachman’s good, but I think Farmer is a natural. Of course, I’m a little biased because I love his eyes :) Either way, WSB can’t go wrong compared to the other stations in town.

Dee

October 13th, 2010
8:02 pm

Good Luck John, you will be missed!!!! Wow..you don’t look 68…you look like you are in your 50’s….that’s the God in you!!!! Have a happy retirement.

Cutty

October 13th, 2010
8:10 pm

Job well done!

Shona

October 13th, 2010
8:14 pm

Justin Farmer definitely is the man here for the job. John Pruitt is awesome, but Justin really provides a fresh face.

Bobbie

October 13th, 2010
8:16 pm

Great Job..You will be missed! Hope life after retirement be everything you want it to be. You look GOOD for your age!

Savgirl

October 13th, 2010
8:23 pm

68? No way! Enjoy retirement but you will be missed

RIP (Retire In Peace)

October 13th, 2010
8:27 pm

Take Monica with you!!!

rooster

October 13th, 2010
8:28 pm

The standard to which on-air reporters should aspire. Good luck, Mr. Pruitt. Let us hear from you.

Broxton, GA

October 13th, 2010
8:29 pm

As with Bobby, thanks for the memories John. You will be sorely missed. You have very much earned your retirement.

Ray

October 13th, 2010
8:33 pm

You have seen a lot of changes from your days at Brown High school over near West End to present. You have been the excellent trusted chronicler of Atlanta’s transition from a sleepy southern town when rush hour was over by 5:15 to where it is today. It says something about your character when you chose to support Monica when she arrived when you could have sit back and said nothing. Maybe that is why you have a long and distinguished career in the town where you were born and have been a top anchor for so long.

Jackie Fleeman Gramatas

October 13th, 2010
8:35 pm

John,
Your Mother brought you into my Dad’s drugstore as an infant. My Dad always remembered your sweet Mom and those times. He spoke about you so often. Your Mom taught 1st Grade at Kittredge but, I did not have the pleasure of having her as a teacher. I too went to Kittredge. With these connections, I have always felt I knew you and your family personally. Good luck to you and thank you for always making the news honest. God Bless you and your family!! Congratulations on those Grandchildren.
Jackie Fleeman from “Fleeman’s Pharmacy”…Jack Fleeman was my Dad.

Penn Clarke

October 13th, 2010
8:41 pm

John, I know you will enjoy retirement as I have for the last 13 years working to help dolphins.

Hannah

October 13th, 2010
8:43 pm

No wonder he looked so happy tonight!

Fellow Newsman

October 13th, 2010
8:48 pm

Sad, but well deserved. Met John during an internship my senior year at CAU in 2000. Excellent journalist. Great guy. God’s speed.

Broadcast Billy

October 13th, 2010
8:51 pm

Congrats to John Pruitt and thanks for many fine years on my tube. I suspect Farmer will enjoy a similar run. I like that he has local ties but went elsewhere to make his mark first.

Vox Populi

October 13th, 2010
8:51 pm

Class act. 100%

Beth

October 13th, 2010
8:54 pm

John, you’ve had an amazing run. I loved every day of working with you and learning from you. You were such an inspiration to me and taught me so much back at WXIA. I will I could take you for a beer at the old Beer Mug! Where’d it go???

Laura

October 13th, 2010
8:56 pm

Enjoy your retirement! You will be missed.

dawgmom

October 13th, 2010
8:56 pm

Mr. Pruitt — as a native Atlantan, I have been a fan of yours for over 40 years. Best wishes on your retirement!

Eric the Red

October 13th, 2010
8:57 pm

John may you have a wonderful retirement and Dowdle may you just go away.

Claude

October 13th, 2010
8:58 pm

I’m glad to hear that John Pruitt is a fine human being, but I also remember a collosal blunder he committed. During the 1980 Winter Olympics, ABC did not show the U.S.-Soviet hockey game live. Instead, it was tape delayed a few hours, but information wasn’t so instant in those days, so a lot of viewers were watching it like a live broadcast. During a news update in the broadcast, Pruitt announced that the U.S. team had won the game, spoiling the suspense of the “Miracle on Ice.”

Jawbreaker

October 13th, 2010
9:01 pm

The Atlanta news will never be the same. Enjoy your retirement. You will be missed.