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Former WTAE reporter joins WPXI anchor desk

Wednesday, April 18, 2001

By Rob Owen, Post-Gazette TV Editor

Former WTAE reporter and weekend anchor Gina Redmond will return to Pittsburgh next month as WPXI's new 11 p.m. anchor. She'll work on the late newscast alongside David Johnson and report during the station's 5 and 6 p.m. news programs.

Redmond, 33, replaces Darieth Chisolm, who left the station last summer.

Redmond left WTAE in 1995 for an anchor/reporter job at WFAA in Dallas. She most recently hosted a morning entertainment show until it was retooled and a new anchor team was brought in.

Redmond's husband, Ivan Thorpe, has a large family here, and Redmond is eager for their children (ages 2 and 4) to be near them.

"It's strange; I never thought I'd be coming back to Pittsburgh," Redmond said. "When I left, I was going to Texas for a better job. Now I'm coming back to what I think is a better job."

Channel 11 news director Jennifer Rigby said the search for Chisolm's replacement took almost a year in part because Chisolm's decision to leave to spend more time with her family came as a surprise.

"It was an extensive search, and I looked at a lot of candidates inside and outside the station," Rigby said.

Redmond came into view twice. The first time, she was unavailable, having just signed a new contract with WFAA. Three months later, the show was reformatted and Redmond was looking for a job.

That Redmond worked here before and that her husband's family is from here are icing on the cake, Rigby said. "When I looked at anchor tapes, Gina popped no matter where she was from. The fact this was a desirable place for her to live is always a bonus. You want stability. You want someone who wants to be here. It's nice to have the person you're bringing in be enthusiastic about the city already."

Other outside candidates up for the job included former "Later Today" host Jodi Applegate (her husband is Rob Nikoleski, an anchor at Fox Sports Net Pittsburgh). Channel 11 insiders in the running included WPXI morning anchor Newlin Archinal and weekend anchor Jodine Costanzo.

In announcing Redmond, Rigby emphasized the importance of stability, something that would not be a given if an in-house anchor were promoted to 11 p.m., the day's most-watched newscast, leaving a vacancy elsewhere.

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