Donna Hamilton will be joining Rod Daniels at the 11 p.m. anchor desk at WBAL-TV (Channel 11) starting Super Bowl night, General Manager Dan Joerres confirmed Wednesday.
Daniels has been anchoring the flagship broadcast solo since July when WBAL decided not to renew the contract of Marianne Banister.
Banister had been co-anchoring since 1995 when she arrived at WBAL from station KABC, the ABC owned station in Los Angeles where she anchored early morning and 6 p.m. newscasts in the nation's second largest TV market. She and Daniels consistently finished first or secord in the ratings across all those years
Joerres explained the move by saying that NBC has several big-events like Super Bowl and the Olympics, as well as female-friendly 10 p.m. lead-in shows about to debut, and the station wants to make sure it put its 'best foot forward" in late news.
"This is not a ratings decision or anything like that," Joerres said Thursday. "This is more a case where we have all these eyeballs [potential extra viewers at 11 p.m. because of the NBC programs leading into them on NBC], ... and we want to give Donna some extra exposure."
Joerres characterized several of NBC's 10 p.m. offerings this winter and spring as having "heavy female viewership," and said, "Donna does very well" with women viewers.
Hamilton will be doing the 5, 6 and 11 p.m. weeknight newscasts as of Super Bowl night. That's a heavy load for any anchor.
Joerres said Hamilton could stay at the 11 p.m. anchor desk through November sweeps.
"At least through the Olympics, and maybe even into November  with some Ravens football and all the stuff that we have, we want to give Donna some more exposure in such a highly viewed time period," Joerres explained.
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