CBS Evening News weekend anchor Russ Mitchell is making the rare jump back to local television, joining Gannett's WKYC Cleveland as lead anchor and managing editor of evening news. He'll anchor the 6 and 11 p.m. news on the NBC affiliate. He starts Jan. 16.
Mitchell also anchors The Early Show on Saturdays and is a national correspondent for CBS Sunday Morning. He replaces Romona Robinson in Cleveland, who announced her departure from WKYC earlier this month.
"I've thoroughly enjoyed my years at CBS and the challenges and excitement of a network role," said Mitchell, "but I've been offered a unique opportunity to help create the next generation of local news in a great place and have a key role in trying to make a difference in a wonderful community."
Local TV talent frequently makes the jump to a network job, but the opposite path is far less traveled.
WKYC President/General Manager Brooke Spectorsky said he'd heard Mitchell might be looking for a local TV job, and convinced him to check out WKYC when the anchor position became freed up. "He liked Cleveland and liked our operation," says Spectorsky. "All the pieces came together."
The managing editor of evening news title, says Spectorsky, will give Mitchell more input in the newscast than a typical anchor might have.
"Russ's breadth of experience and his passion for our industry and our local mission is unparalleled," said Spectorsky in a statement. "2012 will be a pivotal year for Northeast Ohio with everything from major economic projects to a presidential election. Russ will help position Channel 3 News to take an even greater leadership role as the trusted source of news and information in our region."
Mitchell was born in St. Louis and first worked at KTVI there as a teen.
"I'm a Midwestern guy. I'm used to hard work, I get the weather, and I can't wait to settle my family in a community where local news can still make a difference," he said. "Channel 3 has the courage and conviction to do the kind of news that goes beyond reporting 'what is' to foster a vision of 'what could be.' And I find that truly exciting."