The mystery surrounding where WGRZ-TV's (Channel 2) Adam Benigni was going to land was solved today when the station announced he will become the co-anchor of the morning program "Daybreak" alongside Melissa Holmes after John Beard exits at the end of the year.
Until taking his "Daybreak" seat in January, Benigni will work on original stories and serve as a fill-in anchor, Channel 2 General Manager Jim Toellner said.
Benigni's contract had expired and he had been off for several weeks considering his next move after Scott Levin returned to the NBC affiliate as the station's primary male co-anchor.
Benigni, who had been the station's sports director and has been at the station for 20 years, seemed in line to become Channel 2's primary male co-anchor before Levin's return after three months working for the West Herr Automotive Group.
Benigni attracted a following as news anchor to the point that some Channel 2 viewers felt he deserved the job and resented Levin's return. Channel 2 has to hope that Benigni's move to "Daybreak" will ease the resentment.
Benigni becomes the second sports director on Buffalo television to move to news in the past few years. WKBW's (Channel 7) Jeff Russo left sports for news in January of 2015.
"Adam did a great job filling both evenings and mornings," said Toellner. "It was obvious his transition to news was going to be a smooth one. It was also obvious that his emphatic personality and quick wit would be perfect for mornings and 'Daybreak.'"
In a brief telephone interview, Benigni, 48, said he decided this summer to make the move to news.
"I really wanted the challenge of dealing with topics outside of sports, especially in a community where I have lived for 20 years and have grown to love," said Benigni.
He added he talked to other former sportscasters who have made the switch to news about a variety of topics, including the early morning hours he will be working.
"It is going to be an adjustment," Benigni conceded. "My entire career up to now has been on the night shift."
According to a source, Benigni explored other options before deciding to take the "Daybreak" job.
— WGRZ (@WGRZ) October 12, 2017
Benigni seemed the logical choice to replace Beard, who has delayed his departure from Channel 2 a few times before announcing it definitely would be the end of the line at the end of 2017.
Benigni's move to "Daybreak" would seem to be a blow to Pete Gallivan, who had been the morning show co-anchor for about 11 years before Beard came aboard in 2009.
Gallivan is expected to become the primary fill-in anchor for Levin and Benigni, who get a good deal of vacation time. He also could move to sports now that there is an opening there with Benigni officially exiting his former role.
Jonah Javad, who has been at Channel 2 for five years, is the logical choice to be named Channel 2's sports director. He has taken over many of Benigni's duties for the past several months. But no announcement has been made.
Javad also is ambitious and may not be as wedded to Western New York as other TV personalities and could eventually leave for a bigger market.