For the first time in almost 16 years, WFTS-Ch. 28 will have a new male anchor leading its 11 p.m. newscast.
Jamison Uhler, 34, an anchor at the NBC affiliate in Philadelphia, will come to Tampa's WFTS in June to take over the ABC station's weekday 5 and 11 p.m. newscasts. The move displaces top anchor Brendan McLaughlin from the station's 11 p.m. show, which he has led since WFTS began airing newscasts in 1994.
McLaughlin, who worked the late shift in Seattle before coming to Tampa, remained upbeat about the change, which will allow him to do more political and investigative reporting while anchoring the 5:30 p.m. and 6 p.m. newscasts.
"I've been working nights for 20 years, so this 9:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. deal looks attractive," he said. "There's a lot of logic to this. Could the ratings at 11 p.m. be better? Absolutely. Shuffling the deck from time to time makes sense."
Back in January 2009, the station lost 5:30 p.m. anchor Walt Maciborski in a move attributed to redeploying resources. The addition of Uhler, an Emmy-winning reporter who has also worked in Tulsa, Minneapolis and Orlando, returns that anchor staffing level to the evening newscasts.
"Brendan remains our primary anchor; this is just an opportunity for him to try something new," said WFTS news director Doug Culver. "It's all good."