PASADENA, Calif.—I wasn’t the only one surprised that Channel 4 is moving anchor Diana Fairbanks from evenings to co-anchor the morning program “Wake Up!”
So was Diana Fairbanks.
“It happened so quickly, I don’t have my mind wrapped around it,” said Fairbanks in a telephone interview Saturday afternoon. “I was surprised, but I think it has a lot of potential.”
Why was she surprised?
“I don’t think it ever occurred to me,” said Fairbanks, who has been impressive since joining Channel 4 a year ago. “I did mornings 10 years ago for two years. Every other point, I’ve worked night side. I feel like a night-side creature. Mornings hadn’t crossed my mind.”
Fairbanks confirmed she will start her new shift on Monday alongside co-anchor Ed Drantch for at least a few days. She expects the new “Wake Up!” co-anchor, Jordan Williams, hired to replace Joe Arena will start on the air by the end of next week after he gets used to have his new surroundings starting on Monday.
To those readers who have asked if she was forced to make the move, Fairbanks said: “No one is forced to do anything. It is something we’re going to try. I was asked if I would like to give it a shot.”
She said yes. But she isn’t sure how long the “shot” will last.
“We’re going to check with each other to see how it is going,” said Fairbanks. She added she didn’t know how long the check-in period will be.
Fairbanks and Williams will be in place for the February sweeps, where Channel 4 will hope to cut the huge morning lead that Channel 2’s “Daybreak” has with its team led by co-anchors John Beard and Melissa Holmes. Channel 2 almost has a 2-1 ratings lead over Channel 4 in the morning since the start of the year.
“I think it is an opportunity,” said Fairbanks. “Morning viewership is going up everywhere.”
She added that morning news viewers expect a different vibe than they get in the evening.
“Morning is like a different beast than the evening,” said Fairbanks, who is aware of Channel 2’s lead. “I don’t think ratings are a secret. I think there is room for everyone.”
The move to the morning does have at least one positive for Fairbanks. She has a daughter in elementary school. Fairbanks had been having breakfast with her daughter in the morning and saw her briefly after school before going to work to anchor the 5:30 p.m. and 10 p.m. newscasts.
“I won’t be able to see her in the morning now, but I’ll see here more in the afternoon and at dinner,” said Fairbanks. “I’ll see her a lot more, which is a huge plus.”