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ABC Action News gets new evening anchor, as veteran Brendan McLaughlin leaves 11 p.m. newscast




For the first time in almost 16 years, WFTS-Ch. 28 will have a new male anchor leading its 11 p.m. newscast.

 Jamison Uhler (left), 34, an anchor at the NBC affiliate in Philadelphia, is coming to Tampa's WFTS-Ch. 28 to take over the ABC station's weeknight 5 p.m. and 11 p.m. newscasts, according to reports in Philadelphia media.

WFTS won't officially confirm the hiring, though a press release is expected later today on the change, likely to occur in early June.

Top male anchor Brendan McLaughlin (below right), who has anchored the evening newscasts at WFTS since its news department was established in 1994, is expected to remain on the station's 5:30 p.m. and 6 p.m. newscasts, providing more reporting work on politics in addition to anchor duties.

Mclaughlin But he won't be leading the 11 p.m. newscast -- considered one of the key timeslots for local news.

McLaughlin said station officials came to him with the idea last week; he already knew they had difficulties with scheduling, given he was the only male news anchor on the weekday evening shifts.

"I've been working nights for 20 years, so this 9:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. deal looks attractive," he said, noting that he worked the late shift in Seattle before coming to Tampa. "There's a lot of logic to this. Could the ratings at 11 p.m. be better?  Absolutely. Shuffling the deck from time to time makes sense."

Still, the move may seem a bit of a surprise, given that 5:30 p.m. anchor Walt Maciborski left the station back in January 2009 -- a move characterized at the time as freeing the station to focus its resources on new weekend morning shows.

"Brendan remains our primary anchor," said WFTS news director Doug Culver. "This is an opportunity for him to try something new and it's a big improvement for his lifestyle. It's all good."

Click below to read WFTS' press release:

WFTS-TV ABC Action News is pleased to announce the addition of Jamison Uhler to its award-winning news anchor team. Uhler joins the team following four years as an anchor/reporter at WCAU-TV, the NBC-owned station in Philadelphia.
Uhler’s journalism career has taken him to Minneapolis, Tulsa, Orlando and Philadelphia. While working as a reporter for Orlando’s WFTV, Uhler covered several hurricanes and many stories in the Tampa Bay region, including the vigil for Terri Schiavo and search for kidnap victim Jessica Lunsford. Uhler is widely recognized for the quality of his work.  He is winner of two Emmy Awards as well as honors for his investigative and feature reporting. He is a graduate of the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University.  
“We are proud to add a journalist of this caliber to our outstanding anchor team,” said ABC Action News Vice President and General Manager, Rich Pegram. “Jamison’s experience and commitment to quality local news will help us grow as the station dedicated to ‘Taking Action for You’.”
Uhler joins veteran Action News evening anchors Brendan McLaughlin, Wendy Ryan and Linda Hurtado and will co-anchor the 5p.m and 11p.m. broadcasts.  McLaughlin will continue co-anchoring the newscasts at 5:30p.m. and 6:00 p.m. and report investigative and in-depth stories.
 “Brendan’s new schedule allows him to continue as the station’s primary news anchor, while increasing his ability to report on significant local issues and politics,” said ABC Action News, News Director, Doug Culver. “This is a tremendous benefit for our news department and our viewers.” Last month, McLaughlin was awarded a National Headliner Award for his reporting on Tampa Bay water policies.
Jamison Uhler will join the ABC Action News team in June. 

[Last modified: Wednesday, July 21, 2010 3:07pm]


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