Nearly a year after she announced that she would be leaving WFAA/Channel 8, “News 8 Daybreak” co-anchor Alexa Conomos bid an emotional farewell Thursday morning after 15 years with the station.
“I usually like to go off the cuff, but I thought it might be a little difficult today,” Conomos said as she sat with co-anchor Ron Corning, traffic reporter Demetria Obilor and meteorologist Greg Fields. “I did prepare something. Bear with me as I say it.”
Conomos then began a series of increasingly choked-up thank-yous for her 20 years in North Texas and her 17 years connected to WFAA, which included two years with now-defunct sibling operation Texas Cable News.
Along with thank-yous to station executives and “Daybreak” crew, she showed appreciation to Obilor and social-media anchor Janelle Brandom, both of whom joined the station during the past year. “I love your spirit, I love your sass,” Conomos said. “I love what you bring to ‘Daybreak,’ and I’m counting on you to keep these guys in line.”
But some of her most emotional remarks were saved for Fields and Corning.
“You’ll never know how much you mean to me,” she said to Fields. “How deeply I admire the multifaceted man of faith that you are. How much you’ve taught me.
“And Ron, there aren’t adequate words to express,” she continued. “You’re my partner. You’re my other half. Notice I didn’t say better half,” she added with a laugh. “You are my brother, and no one can make me laugh like you do.”
Conomos then addressed the viewers, “our dear friends who welcome us into your homes every morning. You have my deepest gratitude.” Conomos noted that when her first child was born prematurely, viewers offered prayers — and that they sent birthday cards to her 107-year-old grandmother.
The segment ended with members of Conomos’ family joining in on camera.
The farewell aired at the end of a newscast that featured affectionate social-media messages sent in from viewers, as well as brief looks at Conomos’ past with the station.
But the big look back was part of an eight-minute farewell that began with a compilation of Conomos’ tenure with “Daybreak” and WFAA, where she began as a traffic reporter and a midday anchor. In 2014 was named to co-anchor “Daybreak” with Corning after Corning’s previous co-anchor, Cynthia Izaguirre, moved to the station’s 5 and 10 p.m. newscasts after longtime anchor Gloria Campos’ retirement. (In 2014, the Star-Telegram and WFAA formed a content partnership.)
The video tribute included scenes of Conomos joking around with Corning; segments showing her dancing (and exercising and even Hula-Hooping); one memorable blooper from her traffic-reporting days; and on the serious side, her emotional reaction to the November shootings that killed 26 people in a church in Sutherland Springs.
In January 2017 Conomos said that she was leaving to focus on being a mom — she has three children — and to focus on an opportunity outside the TV-news biz. The video tribute featured scenes of Conomos with her children. Conomos’ father died last year, and the video included scenes of her tearfully thanking viewers for their support and prayers — and a message from her grandmother, which appeared to come as a surprise to Conomos.
“Wow,” Conomos said. “I can’t believe you got her on camera.”
On Twitter, Conomos has already made her new opportunity known: She’s entering a career in real estate.
(Other DFW TV personalities, including former KDFW/Channel 4 investigative reporter Becky Oliver and former KTVT/Channel 11 and WFAA meteorologist Julie Bologna, have gone the real-estate route.)
According to her station bio, Conomos joined WFAA in 2002 but came from Dallas-based Texas Cable News, which like WFAA was part of the Belo operation in DFW at the time. She began her career in California as an anchor-reporter at NBC affiliate KMIR-TV in Palm Springs, but DFW and WFAA have had a big effect on her.
“I went through a lot of milestones,” she told the Star-Telegram in 2016. “I came as a single girl to Dallas, met my husband while I was there. I got engaged, and the viewers were there for that. I got married and the viewers were there for that. I had my three babies, and the viewers were there for all of that.”
Not long before her third child was born in 2012, Conomos asked then-news director Michael Valentine if she could scale back her hours to spend more time with family, enabling her to leave the station as soon as “Daybreak” was done. She says that current news director Carolyn Mungo has continued to honor that.
Corning said during the newscast that Conomos’ replacement, Kara Sewell, is scheduled to be on-air with him Friday.
The station prepared another farewell video for Conomos, featuring Corning, WFAA afternoon anchor Alisha Laventure, health-and-fitness reporter Sonia Azad and others. Watch it here.