Jamie Yuccas' sleep schedule just got a whole lot saner. The co-anchor of the Twin Cities' most watched morning show said Friday that she was leaving the station immediately to become a correspondent for CBS' Newspath, a newsgathering service that provides stories to local stations across the country.

The announcement was a surprise to viewers as well as her co-workers, including on-air partner Jason DeRusha who is currently vacationing in Florida. She called him Thursday night with a heads up.

"I already offered to pick him up from the airport when he returns so we could hug and go get a drink," Yuccas said a few hours after her last WCCO broadcast.

The process went quickly. Yuccas first started talking with CBS earlier this month and made her final decision just a few days ago.

"My husband, John (Sheehan) and I have always talked about living in New York," Yuccas said. "He looked at me the other day and said, 'How many people get to achieve their dream?' "

Yuccas doesn't have a specific start date, but she is expected to cover Pope Francis' visit to New York in September.

Yuccas had a successful run since moving into the anchor desk in June 2013. The show has grown steadily in the ratings since, with a 18 percent increase in viewership in just the first year.

Kim Johnson, the station's morning traffic reporter, will move into Yuccas' spot next week with Ali Lucia providing rush-hour updates. Both are already on the station's payroll.

"We are incredibly fortunate to have a deep and talented roster of broadcasters at WCCO," said news director Mike Caputa. "We are thrilled that Kim and Ali are ready to step up and take on bigger roles as we make a smooth transition with people who are already well known to our viewers."

WCCO could have stretched the departure into a weeklong tribute, but the station and Yuccas opted for a more low-key approach.

"I hate saying goodbye," Yuccas said.

Yuccas is leaving her post right before demanding duties at the Minnesota State Fair.

Coincidence or deliberate dodge?

"I'll let you speculate on that," she said.

Neal Justin • 612-673-7431