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Daybreak derby: it looks like a four-woman field

Belo8ers Alexa Conomos, Debbie Denmon, Shelly Slater, Macie Jepson

Daybreak co-anchor Jackie Hyland began her last ratings "sweeps" month with the program Thursday before an announced departure at the end of November to be with her family in New York.

Readers already have shown considerable interest in who might replace her. It's assumed, but not assured, that Belo8 will pick an in-house candidate to succeed Hyland. If so, the likely choices would be from among Alexa Conomos, Debbie Denmon, Shelly Slater and Macie Jepson.

Your comments are welcome, but let's be tactful, OK? Here's a further thumbnail look at the field.

Alexa Conomos -- Joined Belo8 in 2002 from the corporation's failed TXCN cable channel. Recently returned to Daybreak as the show's incumbent traffic reporter after taking maternity leave as a first-time mom. Has experience anchoring the station's noon newscast and already is used to the early morning hours. Would be a solid choice.

Debbie Denmon -- Appears to have an outspoken fan base, judging from reader comments on an earlier post about Hyland's exit. The always upbeat Texas native and University of North Texas grad joined Belo8 in 2000, and had a previous tenure on Daybreak before Hyland and Justin Farmer took over in fall 2005. That's the problem. Belo8 wasn't satisfied with the show's ratings during Denmon's earlier stint. Would the station be game to give her a second chance?

Shelly Slater -- Frisky, hand-talking newcomer joined Belo8 a year ago and already is co-anchoring weekend newscasts. It seems as though the station has very big plans for her, but would Slater and Farmer be more than a little too pretty and perky together? Has subbed as an early morning anchor in what some see as a test drive.

Macie Jepson -- The relative Earth mother of this quartet has been with Belo8 since 2000. Also has filled in on Daybreak, and would add a more mature presence to the program. But would the two-time mom really want the job and its brutal hours after establishing herself as an early evening anchor? Seems like the dark horse possibility in this field. But might well be a steadier, savvier presence than the others.