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TV Note: Fox's Harris headed to ESPN

Friday, January 10, 2003

By Barbara Vancheri, Post-Gazette Staff Writer

Jay Harris, co-anchor of WPGH's 10 p.m. newscast, will be leaving the station later this month to join ESPN at its headquarters in Bristol, Conn. His last day at the Fox affiliate will be Jan. 24.

"It was something we couldn't match and he couldn't pass up," John Poister, Channel 53's news director, said yesterday. He circulated a memo to the staff this week about Harris' impending departure and says he has started a search inside and outside the market for a replacement.

"We're going to miss him tremendously," Poister said. "You can't even measure his contribution. He started here as a weekend part-time reporter and worked his way up through the ranks. He's done everything you can do here. It's like watching your first-born child go off into the world.

"He's got a really great opportunity, and I think he'll do very, very well. He is kind of a sports nut. He has part of a parquet basketball floor from his alma mater on his desk."

Harris, a 1987 graduate of Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Va., joined WPGH in July 1997 and became a full-time general assignment reporter in October 1997. A year later, he was promoted to weekend anchor-reporter, and in December 1999, he was made weeknight news anchor. He will be an anchor for ESPN's news and appear on its popular "SportsCenter," Poister said.

"Everybody gets along very well, and I think that's going to be a key component in whoever replaces Jay. That person will have to be able to work as well on the set as in the newsroom." Harris co-anchors the news with Sheila Hyland, who will be working with Katie Sesny or Kym Gable until a replacement is found.

Barbara Vancheri can be reached atbvancheri@post-gazette.com .

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