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Traffic anchor Demetria Obilor will be putting a stop to her time at Daybreak


@unclebarkycom on Twitter
Demetria Obilor’s showy tenure as traffic reporter for WFAA8’s Daybreak will be ending after October, according to a memo from station manager Carolyn Mungo that has been obtained by unclebarky.com.

Her surprise decision apparently is linked in part to a tiff this week with colleagues on the early morning Daybreak show. More on that later, but first the official cover story from Mungo, who does not talk to this reporter.

Stating that she has “big news to report,” Mungo told staffers that Obilor has “decided to step away from the traffic desk and not renew her contract at WFAA. As we all know, Demetria took this town by storm almost immediately after her arrival. Her authenticity during a video response to viewer body shaming went viral. It solidified the fact that Demetria is her own person! And people watched.”

Mungo added that Obilor is “thankful to WFAA and the community for allowing her to be her true self, and to develop and prepare for what could be next. We all know traffic is rarely a life-long career! She says it’s time to explore. We wish her the best and will be cheering her on.” (Obilor also has her own social media segment on Daybreak.)

Obilor, who joined WFAA8 in October 2017 from Las Vegas CBS affiliate KLAS-TV, has not been at all shy about expressing her feelings and at times provocatively showcasing her body via videos and photos on her Instagram page, which has 572,000 followers at last count. One particularly revealing video, in which Obilor showed off her dance moves, later was taken down, apparently at management’s order.

But an Instagram post this week, which likewise has since been taken down, may well have hastened Obilor’s exit. It possibly was tied to a Twitter video posted by new co-news anchor Marc Istook, who decided to school Daybreak colleague Hannah VanHuss Davis on the art of cooking steaks. While they were shown in closeup, Obilor intermittently could be seen sitting in the background, seemingly oblivious to it all while either staring straight ahead or on her cell phone.

“Featuring a disengaged Demetria as backdrop,” I tweeted in response on @unclebarkycom. Istook, who shot the video, and Davis, then came to Obilor’s defense.

“This is in between commercial breaks and Demetria is waiting for the next segment,” Davis tweeted. “It’s well known my ego is starved for attention, but even I will allow human beings to go about their business and their day without having to hang on my every word. Demetria did nothing wrong.”

“It was a social media shot,” Istook said in the second of his two responses. “I was in a hurry and didn’t pay attention to framing or who was where. She simply happened to be in the background, prepping for the next segment. So if there’s an issue it’s with the photographer, not with her.”

Daybreak street reporter Chris Sadeghi chimed in with a GIF of Robert Downey Jr. rolling his eyes in rebuttal to my “Demetria as backdrop” tweet.

My Twitter replies to them basically boiled down to this one: “That’s not what the video communicates, Marc. And I wouldn’t have bothered if it wasn’t in such stark contrast to the usual Demetria, who does a lot of very animated showcasing. Would have been easy to do this latest social media bit without anyone else in sight line.”

All of this sets the stage for Obilor’s subsequent and since-deleted post on her Instagram page. She apparently didn’t appreciate being, in this case, an innocent bystander (or prop) in the impromptu steak-cooking video starring Istook and Davis. Or maybe there’s much more to it than that. Here’s her post:

According to several sources, the above post was not at all welcomed by TEGNA corporate, which owns WFAA8. “Authenticity” only goes so far, particularly when it’s aimed at co-workers on a public social media page. But the tension had been brewing well before this week’s social media boiling point, sources say. The other in-studio members of the current Daybreak ensemble are co-news anchor Kara Sewell, meteorologist Greg Fields and health and wellness reporter Sonia Azad.

Obilor will be the second major player to depart Daybreak this year. Co-news anchor Ron Corning left the program in March to pursue other opportunities after eight years on the early morning shift.

In this week’s up-and-down D-FW Nielsen ratings, the featured 6 a.m. hour of Daybreak unaccustomedly dipped to third place behind NBC5 in total viewers on both Tuesday and Wednesday. But on Thursday, Daybreak regained second place in total viewers and vaulted up to first place (ahead of the usual front-running Fox4) in the key 25-to-54-year-old news demographic.

Truer tests will come when school resumes, vacation time ends and early morning viewing levels rise accordingly.

Email comments or questions to: unclebarky@verizon.net