Longtime morning 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 — got the former anchor thinking.
"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 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," she said.
Guyardo's departure was a blow for WFLA, which saw ratings drop amid increased competition among other local news outlets in the 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 the space of one year. Now she'll join co-anchor Rod Carter, hired when she left WFLA, as part of a new team.