Who should be 6ABC’s new anchor(s)?

Philadelphia’s most senior anchor — and one of the most entrenched anywhere — is on the retirement runway.

That’s Jim Gardner, who’s led Philadelphia’s (usually) top-rated station since Noah was in short pants.

Jim Gardner, through the years (Photo: 6ABC)

He announced he will surrender his 11 p.m. shift at the end of the year, and then leave the 6 p.m. show at the end of next year. 

Not to worry about the ratings. 6ABC is genius at smooth transitions.

I covered the station directly as a TV critic from 1980-‘85, and then for the 17 years I was a gossip columnist. 

It was a bitch. While other stations leaked like a puppy, 6ABC was tight as a submarine.

While their competitors played anchor du jour, and endured fights among staffers — looking at you Larry Mendte/Alycia Lane, a manager/Ukee Washington, and Sharon Reed/Alicia Taylor — and people getting fired between shifts (hi, Patrick Emory), the ABC station always ploughed a steady course.

Now, if I were still at the Daily News, and if the Daily News were still the Daily News, and not the zombie it has been turned into, we would devote a couple of pages to Name Jim Gardner’s Replacement.

We would do what I can’t do here — show pictures of the entire reporting staff. The best I can do is offer you a link to the 6ABC website. There’s more than 40 of them.

If I were handicapping this, I would look at who is already anchoring, in any form, any day part. 

Next I would look at reporters who had been given a shot at anchoring, maybe as fill-ins.

And, naturally, WPVI will do focus groups and other research.

Not counting sports people and weather staffers (who amazingly outnumber sports staffers), there are almost a dozen anchors — Rick Williams, Sharrie Williams, Alicia Vitarelli, Sarah Bloomquist, Brian Taff, Matt O’Donnell, Tamala Edwards, Nydia Han, and Walter Perez.

That is a deep bench.

Unique in Philadelphia, Jim Gardner is a male solo anchor at 6 and 11 p.m.

Every other station has a male/female duet, and of different races. 

6ABC maybe is behind the times, but the station’s philosophy was, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

While it still ain’t broke, it’s hard to imagine the station continuing with a white solo male anchor.

So the Daily News would ask readers to suggest a new anchor(s) and offer some prizes.

I can ask for suggestions, but I have no prizes.

Because I always want to be ahead of the curve, I would pick Christie Ileto as one anchor.

Why? She’s a veteran reporter, she has done some anchoring, she has a pleasant personality, and a really beautiful smile. What’s not to like?

Conventional wisdom says she should be married to a male broadcast partner, either white or “white Hispanic,” such as Walter Perez, who once struggled with whether he wanted his surname pronounced PeREZ (Spanish) or PERez (English).  He settled for English.

I’d be daring and name consumer reporter Nydia Han to work with Ileto.

Why? She’s done great work for the station, people know her, and love her. Like Ileto, she’s got a great smile and projects a warm personality.

Does anyone think two women anchoring together would be a negative? 

Any who feel that way would be more than balanced by people who go for their smarts, looks, and charm.

Nydia Han (left), Christie Ileto

Those are my picks.

Who are yours? 

24 thoughts on “Who should be 6ABC’s new anchor(s)?”

    You’re right about Philly, ABC, WPVI, channel 6, the entire cast of characters. At some point in the ’60s, the airwaves switched from male personalities ( cousin John Facenda ) to female on-air personalities. Smart. An acquaintance, Diane Allen, came on board fitting the ‘type’ perfectly. Brains and Beauty.
    I don’t watch much local news. Too busy. But, my friend, you probably picked the winners. I mean, what the hell ? Who wants to look at somebody like you or me ? 😉

  2. My vote is for Tamela Edwards. I like her, her voice and style. I think they will be doing a Jeopardy style search.

  3. I’d like to see Rick Williams and Tamala Edwards. They are both seasoned anchors and I think they would have great chemistry.

  4. What with the likes of Jim Kenney, Larry Krasner, and Danielle Outlaw, all being pretenders at their gigs (and, in my opinion, borderline criminals at the very least), and stealing their salaries from the mostly brain-dead citizenry of the once great city of Philadelphia, and the Philadelphia Inquirer, and city council featuring Helen Gym of San Francisco and her anti-American cancer/agenda, I’d say we deserved Divine from “Pink Flamingoes” or a reasonable facsimile. Nothing less. (I’d vote Matt O’Donnell to replace Gardner)

  5. I like Walter Perez (at least his on-air persona), but my pick doesn’t count, so I’ll trust with your outsider picks. Actually, I tune in just for the  weather. If there was a weather pick I’d go with Chis Sowers, the most accurate I believe and thorough. Therefore he wouldn’t get the job.

    BTW-Did you all get a soaking 1/2 to 1″ of rain yesterday, forecasted by Cecily Tynan? 🙃 Weather forecasters’ mistakes and regrets are as frequent as Tony Fauci’s. 🙃

    1. Here’s the problem with the weather. TV covers from the Poconos to the Shore, and Delware, and the weather can vary greatly in different neighborhoods. Listen closely as they sometimes distinguish between Center City and suburbs and Lehigh Valley.
      My pet peeve is when they say rain is expected “this evening.” is that 6 pm or 11 pm?

  6. Any disabled transvestite of color from any country other than the United States. Reading and speaking English a plus.

  7. Tamela Edwards is very knowledgeable and presents a professional appearance. However, the Disney Company will conduct several polls to determine who is most favorably viewed. The bottom line is ratings and profit. If a robot got the highest ratings, the robot would get the job.

    1. I believe there will be focus groups, yes. You do introduce a point about Disney. 6ABC’s culture is promote from within. Will they screw around with their most successful station? I doubt it.

  8. I would have to go with the Rick Williams and Sharrie Williams duo or Rick and Sarah Bloomquist.
    Rick has a similar demeanor to Jim and would fit nicely into the lead role. He would even be able to carry the newscast alone, ala Jim.

  9. If they want to continue with the successful formula, Brian Taff would be the right choice. Presnts as trustworthy, knowledgable, non biased, someone you’d invite to your backyard barbeque. He is young enough to project as anchor longterm. I don’t agree with Nydia Han. To me, she comes across as fake. Maybe it’s because I remember her consumer reporting years ago. The reports were inane, infantile and silly,

  10. Best natural, gifted announcer voice is Brian Taff in my opinion. However, I would love to see Rick Williams and/or Sharrie Williams, who already co-anchor the Channel 17 version of 6ABC news at 10 p.m. Both are excellent anchors, fun, interesting people, and very professional.

  11. I’m with Steve Reynolds & going with Bryan Taff. I remember when Taff was brought on the scene I said, “There goes the replacement for Gardner”…I said he’ll be groomed in the coming years…I be shocked if the higher ups don’t concur…THAT’S MY CHOICE 6abc

  12. Don’t like Shari Williams, she seems too eager and untrustworthy. Don’t even let me talk about trashy makeup and jewelry.

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