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Ch.4′s Fairbanks Also Surprised by Move to “Wake Up!”


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.”

Diana Fairbanks

Diana Fairbanks

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.”


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5 responses to "Ch.4′s Fairbanks Also Surprised by Move to “Wake Up!”"

  1. Tina says:

    Now if they would just bring Mike Cejka back I think they could be going in the right direction.

  2. frmr 4 says:

    After decimating the entire on air staff at WIVB should we be surprised that news management did not consult one of their interchangeable pieces about totally disrupting their lives? The entire fall from dominance to distant #2 is all about human relations and cooperation and the lack of same from the management at WIVB. Contact anyone who has departed in the last 4 years to confirm.

  3. Tina says:

    It looks as if they are relying on Diana Fairbanks to bring them back from the depths of their despair but if you ask me they are asking far too much from her. Bring back Mike as well like I mentioned before. As far as I am concerned he got the shaft big time and is far too good for just a weekend spot.

  4. bruce says:

    I totally agree with bringing Cejka back! As for Fairbanks, I may be in the minority, but I do not care much for her. Since I have seen her at 5:30pm, I do not think she fits the same mold Walker and Postles have blazed, that being the softer, more homey feel. She comes across to this viewer as too rigid and WAY too business-like. I am very impressed with Channel 2′s morning show and will continue to watch. Holmes is a very good choice to replace Johnston and love how all of them gel together. I also love the crew on Channel 2 in the evening. And for the record, Channel 7 isn’t even an option here since they aggravate me in the details of the news and general production process. Oh, and congratulations to Ed Kilgore for his 40 years at Channel 2. I recall when he first started there. Now lets do a retro on Kevin O’Connell, who dates back to the 60′s here in the Buffalo area!

  5. Tom W. says:

    I actually like Diana Fairbanks, but the rest of the news operation at 4 has been going downhill to the point where I hardly watch it now. But, I do think she may be able to soften up.

    An example is when John Beard came back to host Daybreak. At first, he was very much businesslike and didn’t think he fit at all. Now a few years later, he softened up, cracks jokes at the right times, and fits right in with the show staff. If Beard can do it, then Fairbanks should be able to.

    In either case, Diana will be 100x better than Nalina, who was unwatchable on weekends and is unwatchable now.

    The real question will be how good or bad Jordan Williams is for the time slot.

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