WTVT-Ch. 13 acknowledges anchor Nerissa Prest's departure one month after she's gone
Nerissa Prest still sounds a little surprised that people are surprised.
Prest's last day on air as an anchor at Tampa's Fox affiliate WTVT-Ch. 13 was Aug. 21; she left the company's employ six days later. But news is only breaking now that the former anchor of WTVT's weekend morning newscasts has left the station. Late as last week, some of her co-workers didn't know that she had left.
"We mutually parted ways," said Prest, noting she was bound by a confidentiality agreement from saying much about what happened. "It was time for me to move on to the next chapter."
It was an unexpected ending to Prest's career at WTVT, which started back in 2006 when she was hired after six years working at rival Tampa NBC affiliate WFLA-Ch. 8 (she left WFLA to find opportunities beyond the weekend anchor desk). Back then, the station allowed her to work off camera for months while a non-compete clause in her WFLA contract expired; once on air, she co-anchored the Fox station's weekday morning newscasts.
But in 2009, Prest was moved to weekend mornings, flipping jobs with anchor Laura Moody. The change came as most local stations were beefing up their resources for morning newscasts, essentially demoting Prest at a time when the competition was about to heat up.
The change also removed the only Asian American anchor in local broadcast news from a weekday shift (Prest is of Filipino heritage), limiting their diversity at a time when every other competing station was developing morning programs with at least one anchor of color.
Executives at WTVT declined to comment on any of these issues, releasing a statement from a New York-based publicist: "FOX 13 and Nerissa have mutually agreed to part ways. An extensive search for her replacement is underway."
Prest, who is married to longtime WFLA photojournalist Paul Lamison, hopes to stay in the Tampa Bay area.