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  1. #1

    Default Ernie Bjorkman is returning to Denver TV

    From The Denver Post:

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    Ernie Bjorkman, a 36-year fixture of the Denver TV market and a popular anchor who was unceremoniously booted during TV’s recession years, will return to Denver TV on March 27.

    Bjorkman will succeed Tom Green on Channel 2’s “Daybreak,” weekdays 5-9 a.m., as co-anchor with Natalie Tysdal.

    “It came out of nowhere,” Bjorkman said. “I get to come back and make things right.”

    “Tom has been in the morning anchor chair on Channel 2 for so long, it just felt like we needed to replace him with someone who understands the Denver market and the rich history of KWGN,” News Director Holly Gauntt said via email. “The first person who came to mind was Ernie. He is synonymous with Channel 2 and he’s a fantastic anchor so I tracked him down in Florida … .”

    Bjorkman worked for both KMGH-Channel 7 and KWGN twice in his career. He was inducted into the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences’ heartland chapter of Silver Circle shortly before being laid off along with other TV veterans making top salaries.

    His departure was treated as a sign of the times: In fact, The New York Times featured him on its front page in a trend piece about aging broadcasters forced from their jobs.

    During what he calls his “eight-year vacation” since being laid off, he worked as a certified vet tech, performed in TV infomercials, served in the Peace Corps in Ethiopia, sold lift tickets at Keystone, travelled in Europe, posed as a “senior model,” served as a starter at a golf course, and fulfilled a dream by living on a houseboat for the last year and a half in his hometown of St. Augustine, Fla.

    Also, he was divorced and remarried.

    He got a call last fall when word was circulating that Green intended not to renew his contract at KWGN, which expires at the end of May. Bjorkman met with news director Gauntt and general manager Joan Barrett and signed a three-year contract.

    Until he begins on “Daybreak,” he will do some reporting, notably on what has changed in Denver since he left (think legal marijuana and hot real estate).

    “Ernie will start turning some Colorado-focused stories for Channel 2 and will appear on the show as a contributor starting in April,” Gauntt said. “We’ll transition him into the anchor seat over time. He and Tom have great respect for each other so it will be fun to have both of them on the show, together, until Tom leaves.”

    “I still pinch myself,” Bjorkman said.

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