When Adrienne Bankert departed KTVT/Channel 11 late last year, she did it without a lot of fanfare. In December, the station announced that Karen Borta would be moving from her longtime evening slots to mornings, and at the same time confirmed that Bankert would be leaving the CBS 11 This Morning co-anchor position she’d held since June 2012.
“She has told us that she is leaving to pursue other opportunities,” Lori Conrad, communications director for CBS’ DFW stations, said in an email at the time. “We wish her all the best.”
Now we know what one of those other opportunities is: Bankert called in Tuesday to tell us that she has a new position at KABC/Channel 7 in Los Angeles. Asked if she’d be anchoring, she said, “I’ll be doing a little bit of [brief pause] everything.”
Bankert has been fairly under the radar since her CBS 11 departure, but the KABC gig isn’t all she’s been, or will be, doing.
“I’ve been doing some consulting, I’ve been doing more speaking,” she said. “I’m acutally in L.A. now, but I’m flying out to Dallas to MC a gala for Michael Crabtree of the Raiders. He hosts an annual football camp this weekend.”
In 2012, Bankert was brought in from California as part of a big-deal pairing with Brendan Higgins, the former KXAS/Channel 5 morning anchor, to try to lend some stability to a morning-news show that has seen more than its share of turnover during the past decade or so. And for a while, despite ratings struggles, it looked like stability was achieved, because Bankert and Higgins had good on-air chemistry.
But then Higgins was fired in August of last year after a much-publicized incident in Aspen, Colo., in which he was arrested and faced charges of disorderly conduct and resisting arrest. Bankert remained on the show, with a yeoman assist from CBS 11 reporter Jason Allen, who spent several months filling as co-anchor (even well past Bankert’s departure). Traffic reporter Whitney Drolen exited in October, and Bankert left at the end of the year.
But Bankert said all that drama had nothing to do with her departure.
“I love CBS, I love KTVT,” she said. “I fell in love with Fort Worth and Dallas. I have no bad things to say about CBS at all, or any of my co-workers. They were some of the nicest people I’d ever worked with up until that point in my entire career. I still keep in touch with as many people as I can there, making sure that I don’t lost sight of those relationships.”
Bankert says she had an opportunity for advancement, jumping from Nielsen’s No. 5 TV market in the country to the No. 2 market. Several DFW TV personalities have made a similar move during the past few years: Former KTVT and KDAF/Channel 33 anchor Nerissa Knight and former Fox 4 Good Day co-host Megan Henderson are at KTLA/Channel 5 in L.A.; former KXAS/Channel 5 reporter Randy McIlwain is at KNBC/Channel 4; and Alex Wehrley, who was one of the host of Tribune Media’s DFW-based show Eye Opener, is now a free-lance entertainment reporter who has contributed to E! News Now.
“It’s a nice move up the ladder in market size,” Bankert says. “It’s exciting, it’s an adventure, it’s a new chapter. But at the same time, I don’t want to lose touch with all the great relationships I formed in Dallas-Fort Worth.”
Bankert even founded a nonprofit, Loving Individuals Giving Help Together (LIGHT), during her DFW days. She says that it’s still behind-the-scenes at this point, but that it was started with the intention of helping branch lesser-known nonprofits with people who have the resources to support them.
Bankert is originally from northern California — born in L.A., but raised near Sacramento. So this is sort of a homecoming for her.
“I think home is where the heart is,” she says. “I went to college here, too. But at the same time, I had more of a sense of home living in Fort Worth and being embraced by a community that had never met me before. It really did define me in so many ways. I felt such a sense of home and hospitality that it felt like I’d lived there forever. I’m a better woman for Fort Worth.”