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TEGNA8 tabs Kara Sewell from Cincy as new Daybreak co-anchor


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After a nearly year-long, stop-and-go search, TEGNA8 has hired Kara Sewell to replace Alexa Conomos as co-anchor of the Dallas-based station’s weekday editions of Daybreak.

There’s been no official publicity release from station management yet. But Sewell, who’s anchored early mornings at Cincinnati’s WXIX-TV (Fox19) for the past three years, confirmed the move on her Facebook page after veteran Cincinnati TV critic John Kiesewetter broke the news on Thanksgiving eve.

Kiesewetter’s a fan. “This doesn’t surprise me . . . She’s that good,” he wrote.

Conomos, in a Nov. 16th Facebook post, did not name her successor, but did say that her last day on Daybreak will be Jan. 4th. As previously reported on unclebarky.com, Conomos originally informed TEGNA8 of her departure plans in January of this year, and had planned to leave the station after the May “sweeps” ratings period to have a more “normal” life with her husband and their three young children. But station management kept persuading Conomos to extend her stay while various applicants auditioned with incumbent co-anchor Ron Corning. They included both TEGNA8 news staffer Sonia Azad and former CBS This Morning co-anchor Vanita Nair.

In a lengthy Facebook video recorded in Fox19’s news room early on the morning of Nov. 22nd, Sewell told her social media followers, “Yes, I’m going to be leaving Fox19. Whew, that was hard to say.”

Her last day at the Raycom Media-owned WXIX-TV will be sometime in December before she makes her Daybreak debut in January.

Sewell said she had no problems with WXIX, but wanted to seize the opportunity to return to her native state of Texas. She’s a Stephen Austin State University graduate who began her TV news career at Midland-Odessa’s KOSA-TV after interning at KRTK-TV in Houston. Before joining WXIX-TV, she worked the morning shift for six years at KWCH-TV in Wichita, Kansas.

Her move also is a significant market jump, from No. 35 Cincinnati to No. 5 D-FW.

Sewell told her Facebook fans that she’ll be “on social media constantly” as a way to stay in touch. This is in keeping with TEGNA8’s recent major push in that direction, with Daybreak the principal incubator. Two other new hires, traffic reporter Demetria Obilor and “social media anchor” Janelle Brandon, likewise are heavy users who both have their own Twitter/Facebook segments within Daybreak.

Corning isn’t exactly an oldster and is adept at being off-the-cuff glib. But at age 46, he’ll be something of a Charlie among three significantly younger angels on the new look Daybreak. He’s lately gone tieless in keeping with the show’s rapidly evolving makeover.

In the most-watched 6 to 7 a.m. portion of DFW’s early morning news programs, Daybreak remained in third place during the just concluded November ratings “sweeps” in both total viewers and the key news demographic of 25-to-54-year-olds. Fox4 is still No. 1, followed by NBC5. But TEGNA8 gained viewers from last November in both ratings measurements, as did frontrunner Fox4. NBC5 was up year-to-year in total viewers but drew fewer 25-to-54-year-olds than it did in November 2016.

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