Pearson, who went by Monica Kaufman for many of her years on air, is best known for her 37 years at Channel 2 Action News on top-rated WSB-TV as the first Black female evening anchor in the city. She retired from that position in 2012.
More recently, she was part of a Georgia Public Broadcasting group discussion show called “A Seat at the Table,” which ran for three seasons but was canceled last year. She also spent several years at Kiss 104.1 hosting a weekly show.
“Having Monica Pearson, a trailblazer for women and minorities in the Atlanta market, join our team will help us deliver on our plans to add to the already terrific programming you see on CBS46 and Peachtree TV,” said Gray’s Executive Chairman and CEO Hilton H. Howell in a press release. “Viewers can expect to see more local content, more relevant content, and more in-depth coverage.”
Pearson said her shows will appear on Peachtree TV. Starting in February, she will do an hour-long interview-style program similar to her “Closeups” show she used to do on WSB. She plans to start doing them monthly in February, then more frequently later in the year. She hopes to draw a variety of celebrities and newsmakers, typically two per episode.
She is also working to create a revived version of the panel show “A Seat at the Table” and address a variety topics for Black women about health, relationships, social change and self image, among other topics.
Since Gray has more than 100 TV stations nationwide, she said some of them may air her shows as well.
Pearson said while WSB-TV would have been her first choice to do these types of shows, management there couldn’t accommodate her. She did give WSB management and some of her long-time colleagues at WSB a head’s up before the announcement was made.
“It was not easy” leaving WSB-TV, she said. “They are family. The reality was there was no place there for me to do what I wanted to do.”
Even after she retired in 2012, she wanted to continue doing “Closeups” specials, but WSB-TV said no. “I’ve always loved doing the personality interviews,” she said. “I don’t miss reading the news.”
She said after 2012, she still wanted to remain active in the business, which is why she did her show on Kiss 104.1.
Pearson won’t appear on CBS46 news programs because she plans to continue to work with advertising clients, something broadcast journalists do not typically do, she noted.