Longtime local TV anchorwoman Linda Jackson will take over the morning news slot that was until recently filled by Mary Collins, Indiana's NewsCenter president and general manager Jerry Giesler said Wednesday.
Jackson will move to the 5-to-7 a.m. block on WPTA-TV, Channel 21, and WISE-TV, Channel 33, beginning Aug. 13, Giesler said.
Collins, charged in Allen Circuit Court with two felony counts of operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated after her arrest June 26, will not return to the morning show or to Indiana's NewsCenter, Giesler indicated.
"I can simply tell you that Mary's no longer employed at INC," he said.
Giesler said that several scenarios for reworking the morning news were entertained but Jackson "was always first in our minds."
"She is beloved in the community and is certainly recognizable," he said. "She, Ryan (Elijah), Chris (Daniels) and Jeff (Bowman) do great together. We are exceedingly fortunate to have someone like Linda."
Jackson joked that the greatest challenge presented by the new gig would be mechanical.
"I have to have the best operating alarm clock on the face of the Earth," she said. "Or three strategically placed quieter alarm clocks."
In truth, Jackson said, the show has a "magnificent momentum" that she wants to honor and enhance.
Giesler said a morning news anchor needs to have that "gift of knowing what people are talking about."
Viewers at that hour expect to get "social grease," he said.
"It's not just about the top news story of the day," Giesler said. "It's also about the top conversational topic – what people are reacting to; what they want to talk about around the water cooler."
Jackson said she doesn't think Collins' troubles have hurt the morning news show.
"I don't have any concerns about moving forward," she said. "My mom taught me to always put my best foot forward."
Jackson recently celebrated her 24th anniversary of having joined WISE-TV.