Former CHEK personality Michaela Pereira joins CNN morning show

Former CHEK TV personality Michaela Pereira is heading to New York to become the news anchor of an upstart CNN morning show.

Pereira, who worked at CHEK from 1994 to ’98, has been on-air at KTLA in Los Angeles since 2004. The station’s morning show often held top spot in the local morning ratings, and during her nine years at KTLA, Pereira won numerous industry awards for her work.

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“While I am beyond thrilled and excited by the next stop on my professional journey, I leave [California] with a heavy heart,” Pereira, 42, said in a statement.

Though she was unavailable for comment Thursday, Pereira will reportedly leave Los Angeles at the end of May. The new morning program on CNN is expected to begin airing in June, with Chris Cuomo and Kate Bolduan as co-hosts.

Pereria got her start in TV with CHEK while working as a receptionist at a Victoria cardiologist’s office. Pereira was among those who were being courted for the vacant co-host position on CHEK Around, the station’s magazine show.

She was eventually named co-host of CHEK Around, replacing original co-host Connie Mitchell. She later did some beat reporting and filled in occasionally on weather. Popular with viewers, she soon became one of CHEK’s most notable personalities.

Pereira’s rise through the station’s ranks did not surprise Gordie Tupper, longtime host of CHEK Around. “She is what you call a natural,” he said Thursday.

Tupper remembers meeting Pereira for the first time in 1994. He and his longtime cameraman, Nick Hellyer, were tasked with finding a replacement for Mitchell. Pereira’s name was last on the list of applicants, Tupper recalled.

“We had sort of set this criteria that it should be someone who had worked in radio. I went out and interviewed people, and they weren’t doing anything for me. She had no experience, but she was somebody’s friend, so we met up with her. I sat down and started talking to her and five minutes later, we said, ‘You’re the one.’ ”

Though she was born in Saskatoon, Pereira went to high school in the Cariboo town of 100 Mile House. Following her graduation from Peter Skene Ogden Secondary in 1988, she spent a year in Brazil as a Rotary exchange student.

She eventually landed in Victoria for her post-secondary education, studying at both Camosun College and the University of Victoria.

It was on Vancouver Island, where her parents still reside, that she gleaned vital television experience. Her work here would eventually become her ticket to a career in the U.S.

After leaving Victoria for a job as host on San Francisco cable network ZDTV, she became a guest host and occasional correspondent for Ebert and the Movies, the iconic program hosted by venerable movie critic Roger Ebert. Pereira stayed with ZDTV through its genesis into TechTV, eventually leaving for the KTLA co-anchor position in 2004.

Exposure in Los Angeles led to occasional acting gigs for Pereira, including roles as reporter/newscaster on TV shows Everybody Hates Chris, Entourage and 7th Heaven, as well as the feature film Street Kings.

mdevlin@timescolonist.com

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