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Benigni to co-anchor 5:30 p.m. newscast during May sweeps

The Adam Benigni news anchor experiment at Channel 2 has taken on a new twist with word coming Tuesday that the sports director will co-anchor the 5:30 p.m. newscast alongside Maryalice Demler during the upcoming May sweeps.

Benigni anchored the NBC affiliate's main weekday newscast last week and on Monday alongside Kelly Dudzik as co-anchors Demler and Scott Levin were off.

Levin's recent announcement that he will be leaving the station at the end of the May sweeps to work in management at the West Herr Automotive Group has caused Benigni to reassess his statement weeks ago that he had no long-term plans to switch from news to sports and just was subbing for Levin to go out of his comfort zone.

He now says that he would be interested in talking about a move to news if it is something the station would consider.

Benigni might consider replacing Levin as WGRZ news anchor

"If there was an opportunity, I'd be interested in talking about it," said Benigni Tuesday. "This is very important for us. I respect that."

By giving Benigni the sweeps assignment, Channel 2 management is at least indicating that it is interested in seeing if Benigni's comfort level as a news anchor keeps improving and whether he and Demler have decent chemistry.

They have worked together for years, with Benigni on the set with Demler frequently during his almost 20 years as a sports anchor. Demler also introduced Benigni to his wife.

Benigni will be a busy man on the first day of the sweeps next Thursday. That's the first night of the three-day National Football League draft, with the Buffalo Bills presently holding the No. 10 pick in the first round. He plans to work as many sportscasts that night as possible that don't interfere with preparing for the 5:30 p.m. newscast.

If Benigni eventually moves to news, he would be following a recent trend. Channel 7's Jeff Russo left sports to be a news anchor at the station. And former Channel 4 sports anchor Steve Vesey became a news anchor in Youngstown, Ohio, after he left here.

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