Gurvir Dhindsa returns as co-host of “Good Day Atlanta,” a job she last held from 1997 to 2000.
She replaces Suchita Vadlamani, who left in December after eight years with no explanation. Dhindsa will start again at “Good Day Atlanta” March 28 and be at the anchor desk with Mark Hayes from 5 a.m. to 9 a.m. weekdays. (Newsblues.com, a subscription-based broadcast news site, broke the news.)
“Coming back to Atlanta has crossed my mind many times over the years,” Dhindsa said from Washington D.C., where she is a morning anchor at the Fox affiliate. “I’ve often said ‘Good Day Atlanta’ was the best job I ever had.”
She said she left in 2000 because she felt it was important to be an evening anchorperson in a major market. She got that opportunity at the CBS affiliate in D.C. A talent consultant warned her at the time that it’s not all that it’s cracked up to be. But Dhindsa said she felt like she had to do it. In the end, the talent consultant was right: “I made really good money but that was about it.”
She spent four years at WUSA-TV until the affiliate had a “housecleaning” and her contract was not renewed. She landed at the D.C. Fox affiliate at WTTG-TV in mornings, where she has spent the past seven years. It was a pay cut, but she preferred the challenges of doing mornings, where she’s talking about Libya and political wranglings early on, then juggling cooking segments and celebrity interviews an hour later.
“I am a morning person,” she said. She said she figured she’d live out the rest of career in D.C. but then she had twins in 2008. With family in Tennessee, the tug of the South beckoned.
When she heard about the WAGA-TV opening, she approached her boss at WTTG-TV in D.C. and told him her intentions. Though she was still under contract there, her boss was understanding.
Given her popularity in Atlanta during her time here, it was an easy decision for both WAGA-TV management and Dhindsa. And her husband, Tom Sater, a meteorologist who is currently freelancing, may have more opportunities in Atlanta, especially since the Weather Channel is based here.
“I’m really excited about it,” she said. “I’m really looking forward to it. I can’t wait!”
In a way, she added, “it’s like putting on my favorite pair of boots that have been re-soled!”
Angeline Hartmann, who worked mornings at WAGA while Dhindsa was there and now produces and reports for “America’s Most Wanted” in D.C., said Dhindsa has a Katie Couric quality about her. “She always had a girl-next-door feel,” Hartmann said. “Women weren’t threatened by her. She could be their best friend. She loved being in Atlanta. That came across on the television. People could sense that.”
Proving that YouTube has anything and everything, here is a ten-minute sampler of her on “Good Day Atlanta” in 1997 on the fifth-anniversary of the show.
And she also pops up at the end of this classic video of a WAGA-TV reporter who fell out of a grape-stomping container. This moment was later mocked by “Family Guy.”