Keith Jones, co-anchor of the morning and noon newscasts at St. Petersburg-based CBS affiliate WTSP-Ch. 10, will be leaving the station next month for the NBC-owned and operated station in Miami, WTVJ.
Jones, 40, who came to WTSP in 2009 from Pittsburgh, is expected to leave the station in mid-July.
He'll co-anchor WTVJ's 5 a.m., 5:30 a.m., 6 a.m. and 11 a.m. newscasts alongside Pam Giganti; moving south to a station owned by a broadcast network offering new opportunities to move up the industry ladder.
Jones came to WTSP as it was pouring more resources into its morning show — joining co-anchor Ginger Gadsden, who had led the show as its sole news anchor for some time.
Chris Ford, assistant news director at WTSP, said Jones' departure wasn't connected to the show's longtime ratings problems; during May's "sweeps" period the station's morning show placed last among viewers aged 25 to 54 from 5 a.m. to 7 a.m.
"I think we're headed in a good direction in mornings and we're disappointed to lose him," said Ford. "But it's a great opportunity for him."
Ford said the station may try rotating different anchors into the job, including Eric Glasser and Allison Kropff, before picking a permanent co-host.
Jones also has some history in South Florida; he's a graduate of Barry University in Miami Shores, who played NCAA baseball at the school.
He eventually went to work at WPBF-TV in West Palm Beach.
Times researcher Natalie Watson contributed to this report.