Cruse and Harmon announced Friday morning that Wednesday will be her last day co-anchoring the “Sunrise” newscast and next Friday will be Cruse’s last day doing remote segments from events like the openings of Keeneland meets, business startups and high school musicals.
“They were getting tired of me walking around looking like a zombie,” Cruse said Friday morning, noting that between his and Harmon’s 12:30 p.m. show and work he’s doing on “Hey, Kentucky,” a 7:30 p.m. show with Kentucky Sports Radio’s Matt Jones, he was often on the job until the early evening.
“Live with Lee & Hayley” will continue at 12:30 p.m., and WLEX is adding a new 4 p.m. newscast, which begins April 23, that will be anchored by Harmon, Angie Beavin and Dia Davidson, with Cruse providing segments from around the area similar to what he did on “Sunrise” — “The people will just be awake,” Cruse notes. WLEX dropped its 4 p.m. newscast, which had run since 2010, last fall to focus resources on later newscasts, station manager Pat Dalbey said at the time.
“We have an opportunity at 4 to deliver a distinctive view on afternoon news across the Bluegrass,” WLEX News Director Bruce Carter said in a news release. “With the talent of our news team, and resources like our amazing studio set, viewers can count on us for a unique, interactive look at the people and events making news at 4.”
CBS affiliate WKYT-TV has an hour-long 4 p.m. newscast. On WLEX, the syndicated “Inside Edition” will continue at 4:30. The first afternoon newscast from WTVQ-TV, an ABC affiliate, is at 5 p.m.
Harmon also said that while evening co-anchor Nancy Cox is out with back surgery, she will co-anchor the 5 and 6 p.m. newscasts with Kevin Christopher.
As for what’s next in the morning, Chris Goodman will continue to anchor and be joined by reporter and “Sunrise Weekend” anchor Claire Crouch. General assignment reporter Conroy Delouche will join the “Sunrise Weekend” anchor desk. Longtime morning meteorologist Tom Ackerman will continue as the weekday “Sunrise” meteorologist.
“I don’t think, especially in this last incarnation, television is ever going to be as good as it was with the four of us,” Cruse said of himself, Goodman, Harmon and Ackerman on “Sunrise.” “That’s the best show you could possibly have right there.”
And Cruse has been through several morning show lineups, having done feature segments since the late 1990s. He said he will miss “having Lexington all to myself” driving to live shots early in the morning, though he acknowledged occasionally he or the camerman would oversleep.
“Whenever there is a problem, whether it’s a technical issue, or someone has overslept, and it’s our fault, I guarantee, the live shot will be some school function with 50 kids and 100 parents,” Cruse said. “That never happens when it’s just the sole proprietor of a business. ... It always happens when it’s like Liberty, Kentucky and 1,500 people, and they’re like, you got us up at 5 a.m., and you don’t show up until 6:50.”
While both Harmon and Cruse publicly reveled in not having to get up so early, they acknowledged they will miss the dawn patrol.
“It’s very bittersweet,” Harmon said of the changes. “We love this show.”
Rich Copley, @copiousnotes