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Sean Daly, Michelle Stark and Sharon Kennedy Wynne

Departing anchor Gayle Guyardo's new TV project will not air on WFLA-Ch. 8

26

February

Gayleguyardo For the first time in nearly 20 years, when Gayle Guyardo speaks to Tampa Bay area TV viewers in March, she won’t be doing it on WFLA-Ch. 8.

That’s because Guyardo is leaving WFLA today, starting an infomercial-style program called Access: Gayle.  And though she hoped to air it on her former TV home, the five-minute spots will begin airing instead as paid programming on WFTS-Ch. 28 the weekend of March 6 and 7.

The anchor bid a tearful farewell to her co-anchors and crew this morning, amid taped goodbyes from former anchor partner Bill Ratliff and her mother, along with an in person visit from the Tampa Bay Rays' mascot. Her departure is a personal and professional milestone; aside from a few years spent working at TV stations in other markets, her 17 years at WFLA mark the bulk of her broadcasting career.

"This has been the experience of a lifetime," Guyardo told the camera this morning, fighting back tears and cutting back a longer speech to keep the emotion from overwhelming her. "All I can say is thank you."

The daughter of a family which has lived in Tampa for generations, Guyardo saw Mayor Pam Iorio announce today as Gayle Guyardo Day in honor of her transition. Raising her own family now, the anchor hopes that a switch from news broadcasting and the early morning schedule will allow her to spend a little more time with her husband and three daughters.

Guyardo and her partner, local infomercial king Kevin Harrington, will roll out their concept of a "newsmercial" and Inventor's Business Center for press and friends a 5 p.m. today in Harrington's Clearwater studio complex. Like the ABC show Harrington co-stars in now, Shark Tank, the pair hopes to find inventors with new ideas willing to partner with their company to market and sell the items on Access: Gayle.

Guyardo admitted it was a bit ironic that her new show won't land in her longtime TV home, as she originally planned.

“My hope was that it would work out to stay with my Channel 8 family, said Guyardo earlier this week. “But I just think it was cost-prohibitive.”

[Last modified: Wednesday, July 21, 2010 3:05pm]

    

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