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Channel 2's O'Connell delays retirement until 2018

Weather anchor Kevin O’Connell has joined his friend and WGRZ-TV colleague John Beard in delaying retirement.

The only surprise is how long O’Connell plans to work.

The Buffalo Broadcasting Hall of Fame member, who originally planned to exit this month, now is staying until June of 2018. Beard is only delaying his retirement five months until May or June.

O’Connell will work a four-weekday schedule, handling the 5 p.m., 5:30 p.m., 6 p.m. , 10 p.m. and 11 p.m. duties from Tuesday through Friday.

Patrick Hammer, who was originally hired to replace O’Connell, has been named chief meteorologist and will remain the “Daybreak” weather anchor in the mornings.

[Related: O'Connell speaks at length about retirement in June 2015]

Maria Genero, who had been the “Daybreak” weather anchor until Hammer took over, will work “Daybreak” on Saturday and Sunday and on Monday will do all the shifts that O’Connell does the rest of the week.

Heather Waldman, the new meteorologist that O’Connell introduced Tuesday on the air,  will do the weekends at 6 p.m., 10 p.m. and 11 p.m. and also work behind-the-scenes on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.

Before O’Connell delayed his retirement, Waldman and Genero were expected to split the weekday duties. Waldman arrived from AccuWeather.

Kevin O’Neill will continue to be a fill-in weather anchor in addition to his reporting duties on “Daybreak.” The Channel 2 release announcing the moves did not mention Jennifer Stanonis, who is expected to go on maternity leave soon.

[Related: Retirement? O'Connell, Don Paul can't stay away]

Email: apergament@buffnews.com

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