Jane McGarry, who's been at KXAS-Channel 5 since 1982 and was named our Best Local Anchor in '01 (really?), is out at 10 p.m. beginning tonight. Meredith Land will be named her permanent replacement. KXAS news director Susan Tully just sent The Official Word:
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Jane McGarry will co-anchor NBC 5 News at 5 p.m., Monday-Friday, effective today coinciding with the first day of the XXI Winter Olympics broadcast on NBC. McGarry will continue to co-anchor NBC 5 News at 6 p.m. Mike Snyder will co-anchor both newscasts.
Meredith Land will join Brian Curtis to co-anchor NBC 5 News at 10 p.m., Monday-Friday. Curtis has been in the 10 p.m. anchor chair since July 2009, and Land has excelled in numerous anchor and reporter assignments since joining NBC 5 in 2003.
Jane McGarry reflects on her new responsibilities: "I have been very fortunate to have a dream job for almost 20 years. Now Meredith will have that opportunity and I hope she will enjoy it as much as I have! Moving to the 5 and 6 will allow me additional time to devote to a new project that I am very excited about, while continuing my relationship with NBC 5. I am very appreciative of that, and I wish Meredith and Brian all the best as the new 10 o'clock team."
Meredith Land says, "I have great respect for the work Jane has been doing with the 10 p.m. newscast and look forward to maintaining that level of excellence and dedication."
The local TV-news'ers to whom I spoke this morning -- and none are at KXAS, though they are familiar with the situation -- aren't stunned. They say the honchos at the local NBC affiliate has been waiting out McGarry's contract the same way they did Mike Snyder's when he was demoted in July. (It's been happening up and down the NBC owned-and-operateds across the country in recent months, as the network looks to lower salaries.)
Below, a few highlights of McGarry's estimable career at KXAS, including Snyder's debut with McGarry as anchor, her 1996 interview with John Wiley Price and that time she mistook a door closing for Big Weather. Alas, Jane, we'll always have our Carly box and our Snoopy Dog.