C.J.: KSTP's Vineeta Sawkar is on her way out of anchor job

  • Article by: C.J. , Star Tribune
  • Updated: August 28, 2012 - 6:18 AM

Vineeta Sawkar

KSTP-TV morning anchor Vineeta Sawkar has been told she's being dismissed from the anchor desk as of May 1.

"I'm in the middle of a long [five-year] contract. They are giving me a year to find another job," Sawkar confirmed Monday. "It's not like I haven't been renewed."

What's the bottom line?

"[I] don't think I'm part of their future, and that's fine," she said.

Sawkar has been at Channel 5 for 17 of her 22 years in broadcasting. "It's been wonderful. I've really enjoyed it. I feel fortunate. Honestly, that's the way this business goes. You know, it's a subjective business. You know that when you get into it. I don't take it personally. I'm not bitter. I'm not mad about it."

Sawkar sounded neither bitter nor angry. She sounded as placid as ever. She seemed so unfazed that I asked if she ever experiences those emotions.

"No, I refuse to. Life's too good," she said. "I'm extremely happy in my personal life. I have this great husband, wonderful kids. Really good friends, a really good life. I know this sounds corny, but there are really people who struggle and things really bad happen to them. This is a job.

"I'm thankful they've given me a year to sort of look at what else is out there. Maybe it's time. Maybe this is the kick I need to do something different."

Sawkar said she didn't know why she's being shown the door, or maybe just led away from the anchor desk. "I guess that's a question for them," she said without a trace of attitude. "It's all still vague to me" whether being removed from the anchor desk also means not working in the building in another capacity. "They just told me they are taking me off the anchor desk May 1. It's so far from now."

Lindsay Radford, KSTP-TV news director, said, "Vineeta is a great anchor. She shows a lot of warmth and shows a lot of personality. While she may not be anchoring a regularly scheduled newscast on May 1, that doesn't mean her opportunities are over at KSTP. We'll certainly consider her for a reporting role because she's just been a tremendous person in the newsroom."

What would Sawkar like to do next? "What do I want to be when I grow up? I don't know," she said. "I'm looking at public relations, different communications things. I've been having a lot of lunches and coffees, kind of seeing what's out there.

"It's amazing to me. Even at this reunion [of KSTPers past and present] on Friday, I'm amazed at all the people who've left here and they're doing well, whatever chosen field they are in.

"I'm kind of, 'What could I do?' I feel like I have a certain knowledge of how our business works, obviously. I know the Twin Cities. I know a lot of people. I feel I could bring that knowledge to a company or an agency and really get their message to the media in ways they might not even be thinking. I'm really enjoy social media.

"You know, I will miss it. It's all I've ever wanted to do," said Sawkar.

"Can you help me get a job?"

Lisa Kudrow's aunt

Joan LaBelle, who splits her time now between Minnesota and California, went to school in Brooklyn, N.Y., with Lisa Kudrow's aunt, a relative the "Friends" star never got to meet.

"A hundred years ago," said LaBelle, "I went to high school with a girl named Blanche Kudrow. Before we graduated, she died at 17 [of an ailment that would be curable today]. I've been hearing the name Kudrow through the years and watching Lisa Kudrow on 'Friends' all those years, and I wondered if they were related. My granddaughter Chelsea told me to go on the computer and find out about Lisa Kudrow's family. I did that and I reached [Blanche's] brother, Lisa's father, and he was so excited to hear from me. He said, 'I've got to meet you.'

"So I got a limo and went from Palm Springs to Beverly Hills and had lunch with him just a few months ago when I was in Palm Springs. Dr. Lee Kudrow, retired neurologist, was charming and lovely and so happy someone actually knew his sister. I had lunch with him and Lisa and her sister and her mother. They were charming and lovely and we're family now. Lisa was beautiful and lovely and wanted to know all about her aunt because she has so many of her mannerisms and even kind of looks like her."

Dr. Lee had one of his sister Blanche's photo albums, which he showed to Joan, saying he couldn't figure out which one was her. "The cutest one," she told him.

C.J. is at 612.332.TIPS or cj@startribune.com. E-mailers, please state a subject -- "Hello" doesn't count. Attachments are not opened, so don't even try. More of her attitude can be seen for FOX 9 Thursday mornings.

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