Will Amanda Davis’ arrest impact her return to TV airwaves?

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Amanda Davis, in a special first-person report on CBS 46, talked about her struggles with depression and alcohol on Tuesday, May 17, 2016. CREDIT: CBS 46

This was posted on Tuesday, December 13, 2016 by Rodney Ho on his AJC Radio & TV Talk blog

The news broke earlier this evening: former Fox 5 anchor Amanda Davis was arrested today near Cumberland Mall for driving with a suspended license.

[UPDATE 12/15/16: Amanda Davis didn’t realize she had to get her license reinstated withitn a year after she was given a limited license following a DUI-related plea deal in November, 2015.  So her license was suspended. She paid a $210 fee to get her license reinstated on Wednesday and she’s now square. She also had an expired tag, which is what caused the cop to pull her over. He gave her a warning on the tag, which she also updated Wednesday. She will start as scheduled on January 2.]

The suspension was related to past DUI arrests. There was no evidence she was under the influence at the time of this arrest.  The AJC breaking news team has some details as well here.

The timing is horrendous for Davis, who was just hired last week to take over as a morning news anchor on CBS46 nearly four years after a DUI arrest led her to lose her Fox 5 job in 2013She also was arrested for a DUI last year right before joining the “Just a Minute” commentary team. Instead, she chose to go to rehab and later received probation over her arrest.

Earlier this year, she did a three-part series revealing her alcoholism for the first time and her road to recovery. At the time, she said she had been sober for almost a year. (My colleague Gracie Bond Staples’ interview with Davis.)

This latest arrest places her pending job at CBS46 in jeopardy. Frank Volpicella, the CBS46 news director, said he hadn’t talked to Davis yet and had no further comment. She is supposed to start January 2, 2017.

Michael Castengera, a senior lecturer of journalism at the University of Georgia, said “this has to raise serious, serious questions for them about keeping her on. It raises serious questions about her judgment.” He consults with local TV stations but none in Atlanta.

Brett Martin, the “Good Day Atlanta” Road Warrior from 1999 to 2007, said in a text, “Her judgment has been in question for some time. Sad to see this happen but no one is above the law and she has consistently violated it. Her behavior has become a liability to everyone who hires her.” At the same time, he added, “I feel so bad for her. I wish her the best.”

C.B. Hackworth, a veteran TV producer who worked for a time at CBS46 and helped put together her three-part package but is no longer there, thinks the transgression does not merit her losing her job:

Amanda is a talented professional who has a tremendous following in Atlanta, and she’s a good person who many of us care about and enjoy watching. I guarantee if she’s in the anchor chair of a newscast, the ratings for that show will improve. She’s not perfect, but if that’s the standard then a lot of changes would have to be made in TV news. People understand she’s human and many of us admire her for how far she’s come.

Karyn Greer, a long-time 11 Alive anchor from 1999 to 2015, joined CBS46 last year and is currently an investigative reporter there. She could potentially take the morning anchor spot vacated by Gloria Neal instead of Davis if need be. Greer certainly has the credentials, name recognition, likability and reputation.

Neal left the station last month before her two-year contract was up without explanation. Last Friday, she posted an angry Facebook Live video in which she described her departure as “most unfortunate and inexplicable” but didn’t provide details. She also hinted at potential legal action against the station.

Volpicella declined at the time to comment about Neal’s situation.

 


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