EXCLUSIVE: Thomas Roberts leaving CBS46 after less than 14 months


Credit: CBS46

Credit: CBS46

Originally posted Friday, August 30, 2019 by RODNEY HO/rho@ajc.com on his AJC Radio & TV Talk blog

After less than 14 months, former NBC and CNN reporter and anchor Thomas Roberts has decided to leave his evening anchor spot at CBS46.

“Sometimes things just aren’t the right fit,” Roberts said in an exclusive statement. “And there is nothing wrong with that. What matters is how it is handled. CBS46 is a class act and I have nothing but gratitude for how they handled my request.”

Steve Doerr, news director, sent out a note this afternoon to staff, saying, in part: "Thomas is a great journalist, and he has made a wide variety of contributions to CBS46 and the Atlanta market. We thank him for his relentless pursuit of the truth and wish him the best of luck in the future."

He added: “It was a mutual, amicable decision.”

Roberts’ last day on air was August 16. He then went on a two-week vacation.

Roberts came to Atlanta after losing his job at MSNBC in part because he said he loved the city. In an interview set up through his publicist at a Starbucks in June, he said he sought jobs with national networks but nothing came through so he considered local news, which he hadn’t done in a long time.

By June, he had been anchoring for CBS46 for nearly a year. “I don’t think I’ve ever worked harder than I have now,” he said at the time. “That’s the funny thing. This is no cakewalk.”

When he arrived in the summer of 2018, he got along well with co-anchor Sharon Reed, a divisive figure in the newsroom, beloved by some, not so much by others.

Then in December, some notes he wrote with Reed leaked to a website FTVLive where the two anchors gossiped about people on staff, including then chief meteorologist Paul Ossmann. Roberts said some of the comments were taken out of context and perceived as disparaging. In an interview in June, he said he felt terrible about the misunderstanding and apologized directly to Ossmann after the notes went public.

That entire episode did not sit well with many in the newsroom and created awkwardness with some producers.

Ossmann left abruptly in April with no explanation. A few weeks later, with Reed’s contract up, she announced her departure.

In July, Ossmann sued CBS46, claiming the work environment there was discriminatory against him. CBS46 then publicly laid out his issues with inappropriate verbal statements to women that led to his dismissal. That legal case is still pending.

Roberts, 46, worked in Atlanta at CNN from 2001 to 2007. He then anchored and reported on various programs with MSNBC and NBC from 2010 to March of 2018.

He replaced Ben Swann, who was fired in January, 2018 after starting up his conspiracy-heavy website Reality Check again without telling management. Swann is now  a regular contributor to RT or Russia Today, an international broadcast network funded by the Russian government.