WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - After 33 years as an anchor at Florida's top-rated television station, WPTV NewsChannel 5's Jim Sackett has announced his plans to retire at the end of the year. He will be succeeded by Michael Williams, co-anchor of the 5:30 p.m. newscast.
"The incredible success of our newscasts is, in large part, due to Jim Sackett and his decades-long commitment to quality local news coverage," said Steve Wasserman, vice president and general manager of WPTV, which is owned and operated by The E.W. Scripps Company. "Viewers turn to NewsChannel 5 because they know they can trust Jim. He has become a household name and beloved member of our community."
Sackett, 65, will continue to anchor the 6 p.m. news with Kelley Dunn, a 25-year WPTV journalist, through December 2. Effective June 1, Williams will begin co-anchoring the 11 p.m. newscast with Dunn.
Williams, 52, joined the NewsChannel 5 team in March, after covering South Florida for more than 25 years as a Miami-based reporter. Most recently, he served as political reporter at Miami's WFOR-TV. There, he covered both the 2008 and 2010 political campaigns, scoring one-on-one interviews with President Barack Obama, 2008 presidential nominee John McCain and former Florida Gov. Charlie Crist, among others.
"From serving as a national correspondent for NBC NewsChannel, to reporting from Cuba, Haiti, Colombia and Panama, to covering the tornados that ravaged Alabama this spring, Michael brings a breadth of journalistic experiences to the station," Wasserman said. "Since joining the station, he has already demonstrated his commitment to quality journalism with his coverage of the one-year anniversary of the oil spill in Florida Gulf."
Williams and Sackett will work together to continue to provide viewers with the exemplary newscasts they have come to expect from NewsChannel 5.
Sackett's career with NewsChannel 5 began in February 1978 as a weekend anchor, reporter and producer. Two years later, he joined the weekday anchor desk. His career highlights include receiving several awards, including a Telly Award, an Emmy and recognition for his "Thursday's Child" segment that ran for 30 years. This regular feature profiled children to help them find "forever adoptive families."
Raised in London, England, and in Illinois, the Army veteran earned his bachelor of science degree in mass communications from Southern Illinois University. He started his TV career at WDCA-TV in Washington, D.C. Before WPTV, he worked at WABI-TV in Bangor, Maine.
Upon retirement, Sackett plans to spend more time with his wife of 43 years, Paula, and enjoy softball, fishing and travel. Sackett has two children, Micky and Elizabeth, who is married to Jonathan Jessen.
The E.W. Scripps Company is a diverse, 132-year-old media enterprise with interests in television stations, newspapers, local news and information Web sites, and feature syndication.
Scripps TV stations include:
• WPTV Channel 5, NBC affiliate, in West Palm Beach, Fla.
• KNXV Channel 15, ABC affiliate, in Phoenix, Ariz.
• WFTS Channel 28, ABC affiliate, in Tampa, Fla.
• WMAR Channel 2, ABC affiliate, in Baltimore, Md.
• WXYZ Channel 7, ABC affiliate, in Detroit, Mich.
• KSHB Channel 41, NBC affiliate, in Kansas City, Mo.
• WCPO Channel 9, ABC affiliate, in Cincinnati, Ohio
• WEWS Channel 5, ABC affiliate, in Cleveland, Ohio
• KJRH Channel 2, NBC affiliate, in Tulsa, Okla.
• KMCI Channel 38, independent, in Lawrence, Kans.