Fox 5 anchor Amanda Davis’ weird, sad exit

Five months after her DUI arrest, Davis returns to the airwaves to say goodbye


It was weird. It was awkward. Then again, when you’re up against a fresh episode of “Scandal” on ABC at 10 p.m., you’re likely to do anything to inch up ratings. After 24 hours of promos and social media missives about “Amanda’s Special Message” to viewers, the longtime Fox 5 news anchor Amanda Davis returned to the airwaves Thursday night. To retire. On camera.
Davis has been off the air since last fall after a DUI arrest in Midtown, following a wrong way crash on Piedmont Avenue. Until Thursday night’s announcement, it remained unclear what Fox 5 management would do with the much-beloved Atlanta news veteran and host of Fox 5’s popular news segment “Wednesday’s Child.”
After teasing the segment for 13 minutes, Davis’ co-anchor (and “TV husband”) Russ Spencer told viewers, “Amanda Davis is here tonight.” (Technically, though, she wasn’t. Davis and company actually recorded the segment on Wednesday and I’m told that Davis was out of town Thursday when the message aired).

Looking red carpet ready in a red dress and matching lipstick, Davis, standing in front of the anchor desk, smiled and told viewers: “I have seen and heard and reported on stories from Bankhead to Buckhead to the White House. There have been awards, honors and accolades. There have also been challenges, disappointments and stumbles. But yea, though I walk through the valley, with God’s help, I made it though. And that’s what I want you to know. I am blessed. So, it is with a heavy heart that I announce I am officially retiring from Fox 5 as I look ahead to a new chapter in my life. So, with much love and appreciation, I say thank you for your love and support.”

While many viewers anticipated an apology from Davis or perhaps an announcement about a return to the anchor desk, she did not directly refer to her DUI arrest. At points, the televised message felt forced and contrived, like it had been vetted by a team of lawyers. Still, in WAGA-TV’s defense, it’s rare in the TV news business for a station to green-light such a classy piece of closure for viewers.

Spencer and meteorologist Ken Cook then joined Davis on set to introduce send-off tributes recorded earlier this week from friend and former WSB anchor Monica Pearson, former Atlanta mayor and UN ambassador Andrew Young and V-103 morning man Ryan Cameron.
Reflected Pearson in an interview recorded at her home: “When I think of her, I think of ‘Wednesday’s Child.’ In that feature, you saw a maternal instinct, you saw her warmth, you saw her compassion and you saw her love. She’s a mom but she’s a mom to everybody.”
Young added: “We know her, we love her and she’ll find a way to be involved. And we’ll be right there to help her. My wife and I consider her a part of our family. We’re proud of the work she’s done in this city for so many years.”
Concluded Cameron: “Atlanta has always loved you, Amanda. I’ve always been proud to call you a friend.”

The nine-minute segment ended with a retrospective of Davis’ career, including her coverage of Coretta Scott King‘s funeral and her interview with president-elect Barack Obama. While Davis still awaits a court date in her case, she plans to remain in Atlanta. She told viewers, “I’ll still be in town so if you see me around, say hi.”

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  • What?

    Not feeling it. No apology for putting others’ lives at risk? i don’t care who she interviewed, DUI trumps it all. Try not to kill anyone when you get behind the wheel in that “new chapter”.

    • Steven

      Her case is going to trial, so she probably can’t legally discuss anything or admit guilt for legal reasons.

    • Ginger

      So, what’s the weather like up there on your high horse???

    • cynthia

      the first without sin throw stone.



  • Ginger

    Why the negative response, Atlanta Magazine (Richard L. Eldredge)??? It wasn’t “weird” or “awkward” to me. In fact, it was very necessary.

    We all are aware of her DUI by now. Okay, whatever. She’s not the first and she won’t be the last. I am disgusted by how so many people have the audacity to sit up on their high horses, turn their nose up and judge the woman. As if…

    Yes, she made the choice to drink & drive. Yes, she will have to suffer the consequences for that poor judgment. Yes, her actions could have taken her life or someone else’s, so this isn’t something that can be taken lightly. But by the grace of God, no one was hurt. So stop persecuting her for what “could have” happened! And whether it’s one drink, or five… many of us have gotten behind the wheel after having a beer or a glass of wine at dinner. We just haven’t gotten caught. So please stop acting as if anyone of us is better than next. She’s human, she’s not perfect and she is paying for what she has done. In the meantime…

    This does not take away from the fact that she is a legendary media personality here in Atlanta. She’s had a great and impressive career… and NO, one bad decision does NOT trump that. While it would be next to impossible for her to continue at Fox 5, many of us are still sad to see her go. And her loyal fans deserved this formal & official goodbye. It was tasteful and very appropriate.

    So screw you and your negativity, Richard L. Eldredge! God forbid you’re at the center of your own negative media attention… a-hole.

    • Beverly Finney

      Ginger, I agree with you 100%. What these people who are being negative does not realize is that her legal case is not over. Lawyers do not like their client to discuss their case before going to court. Amanda is paying for her misjudgment for the past 5 months and will continue to. Fox 5 (I do not like that station) had to do what they had to do. I give them credit for allowing her to retire and not fire her out right, that could have been an option.

      People please let the negativity go. Think positive.

    • Derek

      Ginger, would you so vehemently defend Amanda Davis’s honor if she had struck and wounded/killed one of your friends and/or family members?
      Defending a drunk driver – who has a prior offense for the same, no less – is patently absurd. I should imagine you are intimately familiar with the weather up there in the rarefied atmosphere of contrived righteous indignation.

  • BigSister

    A bit disappointed. Thought she was going to announce that she was in fact an alcoholic, had completed long-term treatment for alcoholism, would touch on the negatives associated with drunk driving, talk about being human but making the wrong decision to drink and drive, and sternly talk to the public about the repercussions of such a choice. At the same time, I thought the station would allow her to come back. Alas, they had to let her go, especially since this is her second drunk driving accident. I truly wish her well, and pray she is on the path to continued sobriety. She is so talented. Perhaps she can work behind the scenes, although I think being on-air talent is stressful. I’ll take anonymity any day…….

  • FM Fats

    Why do anything at this point? Why not just keep your mouth shut about this, especially since everyone’s pretty much forgotten about the incident anyway? And it’s funny. The only time I’ve ever seen her in public was at a bar.

  • crawlspace

    First, the chorus of critics all seem to cry foul at honoring her because of her multiple DUI arrests. Fox5 allowed her a farewell when they certainly didn’t have to, so I find it curious that people want to take her to task instead. By bowing out now, she’s able to sidestep questions about her sobriety, but when it appeared that that wasn’t happening, it became clear that Davis was leaving instead. The fact that Fox5 hasn’t even mentioned her in months and removed her face off the website speaks volumes. I found it curious that only certain black figures (i.e. Monica Pearson, Andy Young) made tributes to her, and none from inside her own station, especially her replacement at the anchor desk, Lisa Rayam. The fact that not a single person has criticized her for journalistic abilities but rather her personal behavior is also quite telling.
    And @What, I hope we hear more than crickets from you come football season when Al Michaels returns to the broadcast booth after his DUI arrest.

  • Bulldog

    It was weird. Not judging her at all; she has demons to overcome, but was it appropriate to salute her career at a time like this? She needs support and prayers, not accolades. And on the first day of sweeps? Really, Channel 5?

  • Raynee B

    Who are we to judge? Amanda work should not be over shadowed by her
    Mistake!!! She is human like all of us! Not condoling DUI but her case is going
    To trial.. She does deserve a fair chance!
    We love you Amanda…. Take care of yourself!
    And good luck with your new chapter!

  • Colette Powell

    You have got to be kidding me. Amanda Davis is not the victim here. She was drunk, crashed and was driving on the wrong side of the street. Amanda Davis has a drinking problem. It’s obvious with her many bar tours throughout Midtown over the course of 20 years. She has a previous DUI. Thank goodness she got caught. As to her “fair well. Really?. ” let’s celebrate the life of a drunk……….

  • Regina

    Well my heart is broken a pastor in my home town was killed march 30th in Rome Ga pastor Russell and his wife was hit by a woman under the influence she crossed into the pastor and his wife the woman did not have her lights on the pastor died no word on Mrs. Russell right now so sad for a person to drink and drive and putting people lives in danger now his kids and family mourning my prayers and heart goes out to them.