Albany news anchor suspended after slurred speech, incoherent broadcast had ‘insane’ work schedule

Ever had one of those days where you wish you could just get a do-over?

Unfortunately, few really get that chance—and it’s even worse for TV newscasters, whose bad hair days are recorded for posterity. And this was the case over the weekend for Albany TV news anchor Heather Kovar, who shocked viewers with a bizarre performance in which she appeared out of it and slurred her speech throughout her evening broadcast.

The station, CBS 6 WRGB, told The New York Post that Kovar has been suspended from her job—but that move has many viewers upset over unfair treatment to the apparently grieving and overworked news anchor.

Kovar appeared disheveled and incoherent during the Saturday broadcast, with a number of unintentionally humorous episodes.

At one point, she rambled about the heat wave in Texas before getting the meteorologist’s name wrong. “It’s a major heat wave, and it is ex…it’s just hitting everywhere, we’re so lucky, it’s only 80 degrees here, we are really lucky in the capital region. I mean let me tell you about that, these areas are reaching such areas, I mean it’s Houston, Austin, San Antonio…I mean they’re not expected, it has happened…you don’t need us telling you that it’s bad, it’s like…people are being told to stay inside, drink a lot of water, and we are just lucky, this weekend right here is so amazing.

“Ah, uh, meteorologist Craig Adams is right here…I’m sorry, Craig Adams, why did I say that? Of course, clearly, like here, we’re taking a live look over downtown Albany, and of course, just like me, meteorologist Craig Gold is working a double shift, and so, uh, he’s in, and we’ve been…we’ve been tracking this, and, you know, we’ve been talking about, just like, what it’s been like across the country, and the different reasons that why it’s so hot in other areas and why we’re having such nice weather here.”

It was a train wreck, and things didn’t get any better as the segment wore on. After talking about how awesome Schenectady is, she tried to transition to another story, and it didn’t go well.

“And so, moving on tonight, is we have to tell you also, you know like other news that’s happening in the area…and across the, you know, the area…and the nation.”

Kovar then had trouble getting through a segment on an explosion at a natural gas plant in Oklahoma, seeming to slur her speech at various points. It got even worse when the broadcast returned from a break and Kovar, caught by surprise, can be seen holding a microphone at the same time that a screeching feedback noise is heard. Finally, she was cut off by the station in mid-speech.

The station says that Kovar has been suspended pending further investigation, and she was replaced by Emma Quinn for Sunday’s broadcast. But speaking to the Times Union, Kovar explained that sleep deprivation was responsible for her performance.

“On Friday, I notified the station I would not be renewing my contract which expires July 31,” she said. “Saturday I was scheduled to work the early morning 6 a.m. shift and the evening shift. I was sleep-deprived and exhausted.”

Kovar also spent some time in Texas in May caring for her father, who recently passed away. Nevertheless, Mark Sington, an “entertainment, pop culture, and lifestyle expert,” says that alcohol may have played a role in Kovar’s bizarre behavior: “In addition to exhaustion and a toxic work environment, it appears alcohol did play a role, too. A producer on the CBS 6 Albany newscast tells me Kovar was known to come in for weekend shifts ‘intoxicated,’ but ‘not this bad.'”

Hopefully Kovar can take some time off and get the rest she clearly needs.


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Todd Jaquith


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