Rob Tornoe, reporting for The Philadelphia Inquirer:
The big story on Action News tonight is the end of an era in
Philadelphia broadcasting — Jim Gardner will anchor his final 11
p.m. broadcast on 6ABC.
It goes without saying Gardner is an institution in the Delaware
Valley, and is just as iconic as the timeless Action News
jingle. He’s delivered the news at 11 p.m. since taking over
for Larry Kane way back in 1977, and said he has mixed feelings as
he approaches his final late-night newscast on Tuesday.
“It’s been a long run, and it’s the first step towards
retirement,” Gardner told The Inquirer. “I hope we’ve done a good
job with the 11 o’clock news over a period of almost 45 years. I
think we have.”
If you’ve never lived in Philadelphia, you have no idea what an icon Jim Gardner is. He hasn’t just been anchoring a Philly newscast for 45 years, he’s been anchoring the Philly newscast for 45 years. 6ABC isn’t just the ratings leader here, they’ve been in first place for decades, typically with 2–3× the viewers of whichever channel is in second place — sometimes even more. The only reason people in Philadelphia watch the news on other networks is if they forget to change the channel.
No hyperbole: Jim Gardner might be the most well-known and beloved person in Philadelphia since Benjamin Franklin. His is the voice of Philadelphia. 45 years on top.
The good news: he’s still anchoring the 6 PM news for another year. I don’t know what we’ll do then.
Update: Gardner’s sign-off last night, naming Rick Williams as his successor. Perfect.
★ Tuesday, 11 January 2022