Mark Hayes, a fixture on Fox 5’s “Good Day Atlanta” since 2002, is voluntarily leaving the show, according to a Fox 5 spokeswoman. Friday is his final day.
The station would have liked him to have stayed on if he had chosen to.
He will make his official announcement Friday morning during the 7 a.m. hour.
UPDATE: At 8:55 a.m. Friday morning, Fox 5 played a tribute video of light-hearted moments from Hayes’ ten years with the show, laughing with a lizard, the Rock, Ryan Seacrest and Terry Bradshaw. He’s seen singing K.C. & the Sunshine Band, dancing Irish Riverdance and cleaning a barbecue.
“This has been an incredibly fast ten years,” Hayes said. “I can’t believe how fast it’s gone by. It’s been an honor and privilege to work with all you guys because you guys are the best in the business. I’m going to miss you guys truly. You guys are friends and family. We’ve done graduations together… My guys were babies when we got here. Now they’re grown and gone. Kenny’s in the Navy and Malcolm is just about grown up. He’s graduating high school in a couple of years. Where does the time go?”
“I leave with a heavy heart but I leave with no regrets, no complaints. This was not an easy decision,” he added. He did not indicate what his future plans are.
Hayes was co-anchor with Suchita Vadlamani for much of that time until she left in late 2010 after some management shifts. (Vadlamani has not returned to TV.). Last year, Hayes was moved to the 5 to 7 a.m. anchoring hours and does reporting from 7 a.m. to 9 a.m. Buck Lanford took his place from 7 to 9 a.m., with Vadlamani’s replacement Gurvir Dhindsa.
“He brought a lot of energy to the mornings,” said Jan Hickel, who was the guest coordinator for several years and left last year. “They had great chemistry. They had fun on air together.”
Brett Martin, the former Fox 5 “Road Warrior” and a friend of Hayes, said he thinks Hayes wants to branch out and do other things. “He wants to grow,” Martin said.
The most recent “Road Warrior” who was let go last year, Stacey Elgin wrote to me that she loved working with him: “Mark was very professional on air and had a huge fan base. He will be missed by so many in the community!”
Bill Schneider, the Fox 5 general manager, released this statement:
“We have enjoyed working with Mark over the past 10 years. He has always demonstrated tremendous enthusiasm for his work and it has resonated well with our viewers. We will miss Mark’s passion and wish him the best of luck in his future.”
Ratings have generally been on the upswing for “Good Day Atlanta,” which battles “The Today Show” for the No. 2 slot in the mornings.
Hayes did not respond to a call and text.
By Rodney Ho, Radio & TV Talk