Morning newscaster Gayle Guyardo is resigning from Tampa NBC affiliate WFLA-Ch. 8 at the end of February to develop a hybrid entertainment/advertorial daytime TV show with Clearwater-based infomercial king Kevin Harrington.
Guyardo, 43, has worked at WFLA since 1993. She has been developing the concept for about a year with Harrington, now appearing on the ABC network's unscripted show about entrepreneurs called Shark Tank.
Their show, tentatively scheduled to launch in September, has the working title Access: Gayle.
WFLA will replace Guyardo with Rod Carter, a former reporter and fill-in anchor who left the station in 2007 for a morning anchor job in Birmingham, Ala.
Guyardo expects the new show to balance feature stories on projects associated with Harrington's company with pieces on other subjects. Harrington is the businessman behind products such as workout guru Tony Little's fitness gear and the Flo Bee haircutting attachment.
"We're going to try and blend our two worlds together," said Guyardo, whose last day anchoring the station's morning show is Feb. 26. "I don't want to be Katie Couric. … I don't know that I fit that evening news role."
As heavyweights such as Oprah Winfrey and Tyra Banks are closing down their talk shows, programs featuring a mix of paid and unpaid subjects — like WFLA's midmorning show Daytime — may be the new model, Harrington said.
But isn't he just trying to buy the credibility Guyardo established over 17 years at WFLA?
"Ultimately, it does boil down to the credibility of the person," he said. "Eighty percent of our customers tend to be women, in the mid 40s age range. If they can identify with the person that's recommending these products … well, that's Gayle Guyardo."
Guyardo's move also affects WFLA, which typically competes with Fox station WTVT-Ch. 13 for dominance in mornings and relied on Guyardo as sole news anchor when her longtime partner Bill Ratliff retired in June.
Eric Deggans can be reached at (727) 893-8521 or [email protected] Follow him on the Feed at blogs.tampabay.com/media.