Local anchor Gayle Guyardo returns to mornings at WFLA-Ch. 8 on Nov. 29
Longtime local anchor Gayle Guyardo is returning to WFLA-Ch. 8's ratings-challenged morning show less than nine months after leaving to start her own infomercial business.
Guyardo says the move came after a brief visit with the station's news director when her infomercial company was renting part of WFLA's studios. A quip he tossed off as they were leaving -- if you ever want your old job back, the door is open, she remembers him saying -- inspired Guyardo to remember how much she missed the news business.
"It was like losing someone you love," said Guyardo, eventually comparing the feeling to the loss of her longtime friend, WFLA meteorologist John Winter, who committed suicide in 2007. "I didn't know when I walked away there would be such a hole in my heart."
WFLA news director Don North said such changes of heart aren't unusual, once a reporter gets a chance to decompress after leaving the industry "I say this to a lot of people who have worked in TV; be ready six months later for when you want to get back in," said North. "I think she was happy where she was working, but she just missed the news."
Guyardo left WFLA in March after 17 years to start an infomercial company with Kevin Harrington, a local direct marketing success known for co-starring in the ABC show Shark Tank. Saying she hoped for an easier schedule and a life beyond the contracting local TV news industry, Guyardo found she had to work lots of hours at the infomercial game, too.
But the anchor now resists the idea she is leaving the infomercial world because the transition wasn't working. "I was making a decent living, and had I stayed where I am, I probably would have made more money in the long run," said Guyardo. "I was blessed to have the opportunity."
Guyardo's departure was a blow for WFLA, which saw ratings drop amid increased competition among other local news outlets in morning; she had left the station less than a year after her co-anchor Bill Ratliff retired, removing the station's top rated morning anchor team in short order. North admitted hoping to recapture some of their old ratings magic in this new hire.
Now she'll join co-anchor Rod Carter, hired when she decided to leave WFLA, as part of a new team. Her biggest worry now: Not having kept up with the news since she left WFLA.
"I didn't watch TV news for months -- I just needed a reprieve from it," she said. "I don't think I've been gone so long that I'm rusty; it may take a little while to get back into the swing of things."
Below is the press release just distributed by WFLA:
WFLA-TV (NBC) News Channel 8 announced today that Gayle Guyardo will join Rod Carter as co-anchor of the television station’s morning newscast, News Channel 8 Today. Guyardo previously held positions at WFLA-TV as reporter and anchor from 1993 to 2010.
“We’re very happy to announce that Gayle Guyardo is coming home. Gayle left in March 2010 after 17 years with WFLA to try a new career. However her passion for daily live television never diminished. When the opportunity became available to return, she felt it was the right decision to make,” said Don North, WFLA-TV News Director.
Guyardo will join Rod Carter at the morning news anchor desk. The on-air team also includes meteorologist Leigh Spann, traffic reporter Leslee Lacey and daily news reporter Chip Osowski.
“I am so thrilled to be coming home to my News Channel 8 family and their incredibly supportive viewers. The time off has helped me recharge, get my family on track, and reflect on how much I missed my old job,” commented Guyardo. She returns to WFLA-TV on November 29, 2010.
News Channel 8 Today airs weekdays from 4:30 to 7 a.m. on WFLA-TV.