By the end of 2022, a familiar face for Philadelphia news watchers of all ages across the region will be retiring from his on-screen anchor role.
Jim Gardner, long-time 6ABC and Action News anchor, announced earlier this month that he will be scaling back his schedule in preparation for his imminent retirement next year.
During his announcement, Gardner said he will continue to anchor the 6 p.m. Action News broadcast until the end of 2022, but starting in January 2022, will cease anchoring the 11 p.m. newscast.
“It’s hard to imagine that I have had the opportunity to spend a professional lifetime with colleagues so committed, resourceful and wonderful. They have taught me so much about television journalism and about myself. I am profoundly grateful,” said Gardner.
Gardner then went on to reflect on his tenure with the 6ABC and Action News team.
“I have spent most of my adult life at Action News, and many of our viewers have grown up and experienced life along with me and the on-air team I’ve worked side-by-side with. I’ve been blessed to raise a family here and to be a member of this community over the past 45 years. I feel I have a special relationship with our viewers and the communities we serve, and I plan to continue to enjoy every minute with them over the next year,” he added.
Now 73, Gardner joined WPVI-TV in Philadelphia as a reporter and anchor of Action News at noon, before assuming his current position of anchor of Action News at 6 p.m. and 11 p.m. on May 11, 1977.
His nearly 45 years is the longest tenure any on-air personality has had in Philadelphia’s history.
6ABC President and General Manager Bernie Prazencia praised the impact Gardner has made throughout his career with the station, and expressed gratitude for his contributions.
“For many of us, Jim is the last news voice we hear before ending our day,” he said in a statement. “Thankfully, we have another year with him during the 6 p.m. newscast, and we look forward to his continued presence and leadership.”
Throughout his career, Gardner has been a constant presence delivering the news on nearly all of the major events in Philadelphia over the past four-plus decades. This includes triumphs, such as the Phillies’ 2008 World Series win and Eagles’ 2018 Super Bowl victory; to tragedies, such as the 1985 Move Bombing; and major events, such as the 1983 election of Wilson Goode as Philly’s first Black mayor and the 2016 Democratic National Convention.
His retirement will mark the end of an era for many long-time Philadelphia residents, from the Baby Boomer Generation all the way down to Generation Z.
Gardner’s replacement has yet to be announced for both the 6 p.m. and 11 p.m. broadcasts.