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City & State or ZIP Tonight, this weekend, May 5th...
City & State or ZIP
City & State or ZIP Tonight, this weekend, May 5th...
City & State or ZIP

Surprises in the studio on Monica Pearson’s last day

The gang's all here! Photos by John Spink

The gang's all here! Photos by John Spink

Monica Pearson’s Channel 2 anchoring career concluded just like it began – with John Pruitt by her side.

“Thirty-seven years ago we sat down and co-anchored your first newscast,” said the retired Pruitt, who made a surprise return to WSB to sit beside his longtime friend and colleague for one segment during the 6 p.m broadcast. “And here we are. We’ve come full circle.”

Justin Farmer usually co-anchors at 6 p.m. but graciously scooted aside so Pruitt could resume the anchorman mantle for just a few minutes.

“I feel like Kanye West,” Pruitt joked. After a video of highlights, retired sportscaster Chuck Dowdle appeared on the set.

"Mind if I cut in?" Justin Farmer graciously stepped aside so John Pruitt could reclaim the 6 p.m. anchor chair for a few minutes.

"Mind if I cut in?" Justin Farmer graciously stepped aside so John Pruitt could reclaim the 6 p.m. anchor chair for a few minutes.

“This feels so good – nothing against the kids, as I call them!” Pearson said, reunited for a moment with her longtime on-air teammates.

A huge round of applause broke out in the Channel 2 newsroom as Pearson headed into the studio one final time and again as she returned after her final sign-off. Each broadcast featured kind words for the widely admired journalist and community volunteer.

“You really have been an inspiration to me,” meteorologist Glenn Burns said during the 4 p.m. newscast, “both here and behind the scenes. We’ve had good times.”

Her 4 p.m. co-anchor, John Bachman, thanked Pearson for her mentoring presence.

Cutting up in the newsroom

Cutting up in the newsroom

“I have learned so much sitting in this chair,” he said after a video clip showing U.S. Rep. John Lewis, Oprah Winfrey, Katie Couric and Robin Roberts wishing Pearson well. “It has been an absolute honor.”

Bachman and Pearson during their final 4 p.m. broadcast!

Bachman and Pearson during their final 4 p.m. broadcast!

During the 5 p.m. newscast, Pearson joined Farmer and Jovita Moore for a few minutes of happy banter following a video of highlights.

“People are betting that Monica is going to cry,” Moore joked.

“It takes little kids and old people to make me cry!” Pearson quipped in response.

Meteorologist David Chandley saluted his friend and colleague with a graphic of Sanford Stadium in Athens, welcoming Pearson to “Dawg Nation.” (She plans to attend graduate school at the University of Georgia now, aiming to teach one day).

“It’s been a blessing,” Chandley told Pearson of their many years working together.

A real family photo!

A real family photo!

Earlier in the day, Pearson’s arrival in the newsroom created a minor stir, with many staff members posing for pictures and the AJC’s ebullient photographer John Spink capturing every moment of her last day after 37 years.

“Look at all this stuff!” Pearson said as she walked into the newsroom and discovered an array of flowers, cards and other gifts from well-wishers.

Entering the studio on her last day!

Entering the studio on her last day!

Festivities building up to the big day have been going on for months. Yesterday she and Jovita Moore, whose role at the station expands with Pearson’s departure, made a tour of local radio stations.

Pearson, who penned a letter to Atlanta that wrapped today’s print edition of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, says she’ll be an anchor/reporter emeritus now, continuing to make appearances on behalf of the station and returning for occasional specials.

“It has been my honor and my pleasure to work for you,” her letter said. “For me, the time has come to say, ’see you later,’ after working for the best station in the nation with the best viewers in the world.”

"Look at all this stuff!"

"Look at all this stuff!"

The 4 p.m. broadcast featured a clip showing Pearson singing “The Wind Beneath My Wings” at a staff luncheon held earlier this week, and thanking her colleagues.

Moore appeared toward the end of the broadcast, carrying a bouquet and blinking back tears. Burns joined her in a little waterworks. But not Pearson.

“There’s a bet out there and I’m not going to cry because I want the $25!” she joked.

As 37 years came to an end, Pearson looked into the camera and directed her final parting words to the viewers.

“I am overwhelmed by your kindness,” she said. “It is you I will miss the most. Thank you for allowing you into your home.”

- Jennifer Brett/The Buzz/jbrett@ajc.com

70 comments Add your comment

Whatever

July 25th, 2012
11:07 am

Cassi

July 25th, 2012
11:09 am

Thank you Monica for sharing 37 years. You will be miss……………

itsme

July 25th, 2012
4:29 pm

I will miss your professionalism that was always tempered by a genuine caring touch. Many journalists are professional, but there’s only one Monica. Can’t wait for the Hattie-isms book.

JB

July 25th, 2012
4:30 pm

John Bachman is one hot dude!!!!

suwanee guy

July 25th, 2012
4:33 pm

I am so tired of hearing about her retirement the past couple months.

She's the best

July 25th, 2012
4:37 pm

Monica is the nicest person in TV news, and an outstanding journalist to boot. She keeps her producer’s honest, and sharp, and she’s nice about it. Best of Luck Monica.

Ms. L

July 25th, 2012
4:38 pm

Thanks Monica for your professionalism throughout the years. I have watched you anchor the news since I was a little girl and still enjoy your presence. The news world will not be the same without your flair. Enjoy your retirement.

YANCYB

July 25th, 2012
4:42 pm

Monica, I grew up watching you and I hope and pray that you will be blessed beyond measure along with your family for the rest of your lives. Take care and I will miss you terribly.

Spiffy

July 25th, 2012
4:43 pm

I tuned in because I wanted to see what different hairstyle she had LOL

Ms MJ

July 25th, 2012
4:43 pm

I’m not sure why people bother making negative comments. Surely there’s something else you could be doing with your time……I wish Monica nothing but the best.

Dee

July 25th, 2012
4:45 pm

I moved to Atlanta 15 years ago and Monica has always been a knowledgeable, straight forward and professional journalist. You will be missed and I wish you the very best in your retirement.

IMD

July 25th, 2012
4:46 pm

Jennifer,

Please close the comments. All you will get on this blog are a bunch of low-life racists who have nothing else to do but spew their hatred and foolish comments.

Monica is a retired, beautiful, and blessed millionaire. Yes, I said millionaire. And she doesn’t look too bad for 64 years old either.

Why don’t you Low-life Haters find something else better to do with your time. She is clearly not thinking about you!!

scott

July 25th, 2012
4:49 pm

Enjoyed her over the years…at least she didn’t have to go in to a hotel room with a black light to make a name for herself…..

scott

July 25th, 2012
4:51 pm

IMD-I don’t see any “racist” comments…can you direct me to one? Or is that just your crutch?

Sarahbyall

July 25th, 2012
4:52 pm

John Bachman is very attractive!

Sam

July 25th, 2012
4:54 pm

I will add my name to the long list of people who grew up with Monica and who wish her the very best in her well-deserved retirement. Thanks Monica for your many years of professionalism – and smiles!

Midtown Diva

July 25th, 2012
4:54 pm

Thank you Monica, you will be missed!

Really...

July 25th, 2012
4:54 pm

@JoePa Knew – I purchased this tee-shirt for you. It reads:

You are a Non-M#*@**# F*#(*#ing factor!

atlnative

July 25th, 2012
4:55 pm

My wife and I use to see you at the movies at Cheshire Bridge & LaVista Rd years ago.Thanks for being not just a great journalist,but an inspiration to millions around the metro region.

Really...

July 25th, 2012
4:59 pm

Monica has lots of class and a beautiful smile to boot. She’s a warm and caring individual. We need mor like her.

Devil's Advocate

July 25th, 2012
5:01 pm

You can always tell who is doing well and who is jealous by the comments made in a public forum. People who enjoy life don’t waste it by hating on others.

Deanna

July 25th, 2012
5:02 pm

We’ll miss you, Monica! Thanks for all you’ve given us for all these years! You’ve made Atlanta a better place.

mesabb

July 25th, 2012
5:02 pm

Happy trails, Monica! And thanks for all you do (and did).

Really...

July 25th, 2012
5:03 pm

You are correct, Devil’s Advocated!!!! Well said.

bhorsoft

July 25th, 2012
5:10 pm

Best of luck to Monica in her retirement, although it doesn’t sound so much like a retirement as a move from full-time employment to “consulting”. I will be glad when the “Monica Farewell Tour” ends. When I retire after 40+ years in my industry I’ll be lucky to get a dinner, gold watch, and modest returns on my 401-K.

SirReal

July 25th, 2012
5:15 pm

I’ve lived in GA my whole life and grew up watching her. My mom would tune in to see how Monica Kaufman (at the time) wore her hair that day.lol She really showed a lot of people down here that opportunities did exist in an era where they really didnt. I know I’ll miss here. I have a lot of respect for the work she has done. I know people who knew her personally and the words are always good. She wasnt just like this on camera. I am sure she’ll enjoy her new stage in life. Wish her the best.

Will

July 25th, 2012
5:15 pm

Good luck in retirement to a very classy lady. I know as a newscaster you have to remain neutral and not show your emotions when doing a broadcast, but I could always tell your heart when you were on the air. You are obviously a very loving and caring person and that personality always shined through that smile. It was such a pleasure to see your 89 year old mom on the special last night, I loved the quote, “it’s not what you have; it’s what you do with what you have that counts”. That’s a quote we all could learn from. Anyways, I hope we will see you again on air. Best to you always.

Brazen Unicorn

July 25th, 2012
5:15 pm

Way to go Monica! Congratulations!

Atlanta's 1st LADY!!

July 25th, 2012
5:15 pm

MRS. MONICA KAUFMAN PEARSON HAS BEEN IN THAT CHANNEL 2 SEAT SINCE MY HIGH SCHOOL YEARS, MY DAUGHTERS HIGH SCHOOL YEARS AND MY GRANDCHILDREN ELEMENTARY SCHOOL YEARS. YOU ARE ONE CLASSY AND FASHIONABLE LADY. YOU KEPTED IT REAL ALL THE TIME AND YOU WERE THE ONLY ANCHOR LADY THAT EXPRESSED YOUR OPINION ABOUT WHAT WAS GOING ON IN THE NEWS. WE LOVE YOU AND WILL SURELY MISS YOU MONICA. I KNOW YOU WANT STAY AWAY VERY LONG, WE WILL SEE YOU AGAIN SOMEWHERE.. ENJOY YOUR FAMILY AND YOUR BEAUTIFUL HOME. I KNOW YOUR MOM,DAUGHTER AND HUSBAND ARE SOOOOO PROUD OF YOU.

Hair Styles Gone Wild !

July 25th, 2012
5:16 pm

If anything, her crazy Hair Styles will be missed. Good luck tho!

Ros Pressley

July 25th, 2012
5:17 pm

MONICA ALL THE BEST WISHES,!! I’VE ENJOYED WATCHING YOU FOR ABOUT 28 YEARS SINCE MOVING TO ATLANTA I KNOW YOU WILL COMPLETE YOUR BUCKET TO DO LIST.

Valerie

July 25th, 2012
5:25 pm

Thanks Monica! You’re an inspiration! Best wishes to you!

TLDM

July 25th, 2012
5:27 pm

Monica, Thank you for your dedication to the city of Atlanta and my family and I wish you and your husband nothing but the best. I saw you once on your Harley at the Sanibel event and you were so nice to everyone who recognized you. You have been an inspiration to everyone. Thank you again for that. Be Blessed!!!

J Robinson

July 25th, 2012
5:34 pm

Monica,

I haven’t been this emotional about anyone leaving or changing jobs in Atlanta since Dale Murphy got traded. Like him getting traded, you leaving WSB is tearing me apart, but for different reasons. i have admired you since I moved here in Oct. 1986. You will truly be missed. You are the best Monica.

Rosalyn

July 25th, 2012
5:36 pm

Congratulations Mrs. Pearson! All the best at UGA and thanks for 37 wonderful years in serving Atlanta at the anchor desk. You make me proud to be a woman of the world.

Monica Pearson is a "CLASS" ACT

July 25th, 2012
5:39 pm

@scott

July 25th, 2012
4:51 pm
IMD-I don’t see any “racist” comments…can you direct me to one? Or is that just your crutch?

*************************************************

A Fish Would Not Get Caught If It kept It’s Mouth Shut

Hit a dog…….

It will holler..

Monica Pearson is a "CLASS" ACT

July 25th, 2012
5:44 pm

@Devil’s Advocate

July 25th, 2012
5:01 pm
You can always tell who is doing well and who is jealous by the comments made in a public forum. People who enjoy life don’t waste it by hating on others.

*****************************************************

The haters WISH they could have a 37 year career like Monica and get

paid well for it.

Looks like Monica is a WINNNER. :)

Yessir

July 25th, 2012
5:46 pm

Enter your comments here

Yessir

July 25th, 2012
5:49 pm

Monica has been great for many years. I am glad she has been an inspiration to Burns. She hasn’t inspired him enough. If you watch him during a time of crisis that fact is painfully obvious.

Monica Pearson is a "CLASS" ACT

July 25th, 2012
5:51 pm

@suwanee guy

July 25th, 2012
4:33 pm
I am so tired of hearing about her retirement the past couple months.
***********************************

AND I am so tired of mean spirited, hate filled people who let

THE DEVIL WHISPER MEANNESS IN THEIR EAR and

THEY ACT UPON IT.

Get a life. A “Good” life.

Extra

July 25th, 2012
5:52 pm

Monica Kaufman Pearson – Atlanta’s First Lady!

Babs

July 25th, 2012
5:54 pm

Thank you for being an advocate in the community and being the spokesperson and anchor on the news. I remember you speaking at the Best of the Best awards for nurses in Atlanta. You were an inspiration to me and my daughter,as we listened to you speak at the event.In fact,you are a role model for all women.

John

July 25th, 2012
6:05 pm

j.jackson

July 25th, 2012
6:09 pm

r.jackson,and family,and mom and dad,thanks for 37 years,monica.enjoy your time off.

RIch Noonan

July 25th, 2012
6:25 pm

It is so nice to see a TV station that actually allows a person to develop, grow and become a local legend. Monica is a very rare television personality who is just a special off the air as she is on the air. Best wishes to Monica in her new chapter. Every news director can learn from the “Monica experience.” Hire quality people, and let them grow, and you will be number one in your market someday. There is a reason that virtually every number one station in the country has an anchor who has been there for a long long time.

Thank you, Mz.Monica

July 25th, 2012
6:30 pm

You showed me a kindness years ago and I’ll never forget it! You didn’t have to do it. For you, it may have been a very small thing. For me, it was a display of your selflessness and generosity. Thank you.

Debbie

July 25th, 2012
6:33 pm

Thank you Monica.
You are truly an Atlanta treasure. Good luck with your Master’s.

Katherine Jackson

July 25th, 2012
7:04 pm

We will Miss MONICA. much like we miss my son Michael. difference is she tells the news and he sang and danced. Glory Be to gawd

Unklwillie

July 25th, 2012
7:26 pm

Monica was certainly popular — but it only points to the fact that Atlanta’s local news (print and media) is rather vacuous rather than to the point. This attitude of ‘party’ over substance has done a great deal of harm to all of us in this city.

Old timer

July 25th, 2012
7:34 pm

And one of the things I most admire about Monica is that she kept her personal beliefs to herself…many of the national anchors on the national level need to take lessons from her… She is a class act and we wish her well in whatever she does next.