While at Chamblee High School, she wanted to be a behind-the-scenes wheeler-dealer entertainment attorney. But at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, she joined a new college TV station that shifted the direction of her life. She hosted a show “Francesca in the City” covering art exhibits and concerts at the Bluebird Cafe.
“I was at a liberal arts college without a broadcast journalism program so I had to make myself competitive,” she said. She did multiple internships at media outlets to try to build her resumé.
But after graduating in 2012, she received crickets from news stations for 13 months. “The smallest market is 211,” she said. “I checked there and market 210 and all the way down. Nothing.”
To make some money, she sold cemetery plots for her father’s company. But then Jam Sadar, a news director at WLNS-TV in Lansing, Michigan (currently market 115), saw something special in her and gave her a job as a morning show reporter.
“The moment I saw her, I thought ‘She’s going to be a star!’” Sadar said. “There are few people, especially right out of school, who have that ‘it’ factor ― and there was no doubt she had it.”
She covered homicides and car accidents and basketball games and rode a hot air balloon. She also found her voice as a journalist. “I realized lifestyle and entertainment was where I wanted to be,” she said.
But Amiker first did investigative work at a station WJXT in Jacksonville, Florida. “I really got my chops there,” she said. That hard work led her to 11Alive. Soon after her arrival, she gave a PowerPoint presentation to management to convince them that an entertainment beat was worthwhile.
Jennifer Rigby, the news director, loved it. They dubbed her segments “The A-Scene” and put money into promoting it. She was able to interview Oprah Winfrey and remembered Winfrey fixing the white balance on her camera. She nabbed both Tyler Perry and Winfrey on the red carpet of his studio opening in 2019. She got quality time with actors such as Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and Steve Carell.
Over the years, she had reached out to E! and hadn’t gotten any response. She loved Ryan Seacrest (Dunwoody High School Class of 1993) and Giuliana Rancic when they hosted the evening “E! News” program. In 2017, she talked her way into E! and convinced a mail guy there to leave a box on an executive producer’s desk with her resume and a coffee mug with a note, “Hope to be the caffeine your team needs.”
She didn’t hear back until this year. That producer, Jen Lavin, now wanted her. “The time was finally right and 11Alive gave me that opportunity by building credibility in Hollywood,” she said.
Her first story was a red carpet charity event where she talked to the likes of Hilary Duff and Vanessa Bryant. She is psyched to do a lot more.
“I’m a worker bee,” she said. “I’m ready to help us get to the top on all sides!”
WHERE TO SEE HER
“Daily Pop,” 2 p.m. weekdays on E!