ABC affiliate WTVQ has told anchor Don Hudson that it won't renew his contract later this year, leaving the third-place station with the task of replacing both its evening anchors.
“I'm not part of the future plans,” Hudson confirmed Wednesday night. His five-year contract is up at the end of October.
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General Manager Chris Aldridge said the station chose not to renew the contract because “we just feel that we need to move in a new direction.”
“Don is a terrific guy and certainly has a bright future ahead of him, but we just decided we wanted to move in a new direction with our male anchor,” he added.
Aldridge said the station offered co-anchor Megan Newquist a new contract, “but we simply could not agree on the terms … so she decided not to accept our offer and pursue something else.”
The station will look for “someone who can connect with viewers here in Central Kentucky.”
“That's extremely important to us,” he said. “I think anchors and TV personalities are somewhat a matter of personal taste to people.”
Newquist, who came to WTVQ from California, said Wednesday that she plans to stay in the business.
She said she enjoyed her time at WTVQ but noted the uncertainty at the station over the past year, as former general manager Mark Pimentel took a job in Louisville and former owner Media General sold the station to Morris Multimedia.
“It's hard to work anywhere where there's so much uncertainty,” she said. She said the station's new management is focusing on local people and said that after four years at the station she was still called “an outsider” at times.
Aldridge declined to discuss possible replacements for the anchors, either internal or external, saying only that a search is under way.
Aldridge said the station plans to honor Hudson's contract and keep him on the air through the end of October, but has told him it would release him early if he has a job opportunity elsewhere.
Hudson came to WTVQ in 2003 from Washington, D.C. He was brought in by different management, which has since left.
He said he aims to look for jobs in other cities.
Hudson's departure also follows the firing of the station's news director, Tai Takahashi, who was released on Monday and will be replaced by Doug Hogan, a former official with Gov. Ernie Fletcher's administration.
In other WTVQ news, the station has moved weekend co-anchor Chris Dietz to a daily reporting shift, leaving Carla Wade as a solo anchor.