Monica Pearson and John Bachman will host the new Channel 2 Action News 4 p.m. newscast starting May 26 after “The Oprah Winfrey Show” ends its 25-year run.
Pearson has been with the station for more than three decades and currently anchors the 6 p.m. and 11 p.m. newscasts as well. She has said she plans to retire next year.
(UPDATE, 6 p.m. Here’s a question I forgot to answer on the intial blog entry. Here’s how this impacts the other newscasts.) Jovita Moore, who co-anchors the 5 p.m. news with Justin Farmer, will take over the 11 p.m. slot for Pearson, working again with Farmer. Pearson will continue to anchor the 6 p.m. newscast. Pearson has no complaints: “After working the 11 p.m. for 36 years, I can’t wait to go to plays in the evening and go to dinner with my husband without having to watch the clock to get back to work. I will have a life!!!!” she said in an email.)
Bachman, who joined Channel 2 about four years ago, has been the primary weekend anchor and has also done general assignment reporting and specials. He will now be a full-time weekday anchor.
General Manager Bill Hoffman, in an interview today, said the station has added 20 employees to supplement the upcoming 4 p.m. newscast. That includes three on-air reporters, three photographers and two additional news vans. He said the station also recently purchased a high-end radar for weather forecasting.
“We did research and we also took stock in where we are as a brand right now,” Hoffman said. “We really believe where we are right now, this time, this place, this state of the station, that the best thing we felt was go news.”
Channel 2 is not the only major market replacing Oprah with news instead of another talk show. Hoffman said ABC affiliates in Philadelphia and New York are doing the same thing.
The station will now have three consecutive hours of local news from 4 to 7 p.m. on weekdays.
The other 4 p.m. newscast in Atlanta is on the CBS affiliate WGCL-TV, which added a 5 p.m. newscast last fall.
As for the pending departures of soaps “One Life to Live” and “All my Children,” Hoffman said he appreciated how dedicated the soap fans are, but unfortunately, the audience was aging and shrinking. He said he plans to take the two new ABC replacement shows hosted by chef Mario Batali and fashion guru Tim Gunn.
By Rodney Ho, firstname.lastname@example.org, AJCRadioTV blog