Morning News: Friends and Family

Drexel and Scott
Drexel and Scott

“After the first week, I felt like I had walked into something magic,” says Drexel Gilbert, former morning show anchor for WKRG.

From the beginning, it was clear, the News Center 5 morning team weren’t just co-workers. They were family. Two of the people behind the magic were Drexel Gilbert and Scott Hunter. Drexel was the first woman News 5 brought onto the morning show as a full-time anchor.

“I didn’t realize it at the time. I was really young and just really grateful for the opportunity to have at that age, the opportunity to be on this morning newscast,” says Gilbert.

Former Alabama quarterback Scott Hunter was there with the latest sports news and also provided quite a few laughs along the way! Take for instance, the time he lost a bet. The two remember Drexel forcing an Auburn hat on the Alabama fan’s head live on the show, after a bet he lost with her.

They picked on each other like siblings, but they had each other’s backs.

“Your mother was pregnant with you! She’d do the news, and during commercial breaks she would put her head on the set, and I’d run and get some ice water and the commercial would just about be over and I’d say, ‘Drexel we’re back!'” says Hunter.

News Center 5 was the first morning show in the market to take things on the road, live on location.

“That was really nice to be able to set the bar for morning news casts, and for evening newscasts. Many evening newscasts didn’t go on remote for the whole show either,” says Gilbert.

They’d anchor shows from the Dauphin Island Fishing Rodeo, to Fat Tuesday events, to the Shrimp Festival.

While the morning show team had a lot of fun, there were also several times things got serious. For instance, when the Sunset Limited crashed into Bayou Sara in 1993.

“That was one of those intense news days where, there was a lot of joking on the set during commercials, but not that day. Everyone had to be on point and ready to go,” says Gilbert.

It’s a time they both describe as a golden time in television, and they say for them, they’ll always be family.

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