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Michaela Pereira back on West Coast for launch of own show

After spending three years in New York co-anchoring CNN’s flagship morning news program New Day, Michaela Pereira has discovered that, yes, you can go home again.
Michaela Pereira.jpg
Michaela Pereira's move back to Los Angeles for her HLN news show, MIchaela, will bring her closer to her boyfriend and allow her to visit her parents in Cowichan more easily.

After spending three years in New York co-anchoring CNN’s flagship morning news program New Day, Michaela Pereira has discovered that, yes, you can go home again.

When she uses the word “homecoming” to describe her return to Los Angeles — where her new live three-hour morning news show Michaela debuts Monday on HLN at 7 a.m. — its meaning is two-fold.

“L.A. is my home away from home … my American home,” said Pereira, who began her broadcasting career at CHEK in Victoria in 1994 before co-anchoring KTLA’s top-rated morning show for nine years.

“You’re doing it from a place where your heart resides. It’s a lot easier to go home and unwind, regroup, spend time with people you love and then go back and do it all again.”

But the move will also put Pereira closer to her boyfriend of 10 years and allow her to visit her Cowichan-based parents more easily. Coming home to the Island from New York could take up the better part of a day.

“I realized I didn’t like being that far away from my parents,” said Pereira, 45.

With her new show, the newscaster can rise at 4 a.m. instead of 3, as she did for New Day, to begin each day’s work.

“It’s a magnificent sleep-in,” joked Pereira, whose daily ritual will include “praying and meditating” as she drives to CNN’s bureau in Hollywood before she hits the ground running. HLN is a sister station to CNN.

Pereira’s show airs at 7 a.m., but she has plenty to do before then: brainstorming with producers, preparing segments, reading scripts, doing voiceovers and sitting in hair and makeup for 45 minutes.

She says she is thrilled to be able to reunite with her former KTLA executive producer Scott Warren for the launch of her HLN show, the only live national morning program based on the West Coast.

Her office is also just down the hall from “a lovely man” she befriended during her Pasadena days — addictions specialist and media personality Dr. Drew Pinsky.

The network has pulled out all the stops to promote Michaela, including production of a slick video featuring her wearing sunglasses while cruising through L.A.’s palm-lined streets in a convertible.

“Some of the best and brightest [talents] in Hollywood helped put that together. It was so much fun,” says Pereira, whose footage was shot in Venice Beach.

Her face has also been plastered on billboards, and she was celebrated in a Staples Center “Welcome Back to the West Coast” video featuring L.A. visuals intercut with crowds yelling: “Welcome back, Michaela!”

Ken Jautz, the CNN Worldwide executive vice-president, is on a misson to increase live-broadcasts on HLN.

“We hit the jackpot with Michaela,” Jautz said.

Pereira made no secret of her desire to return to L.A. It wasn’t that she was dissatisfied during her three years in New York, which she describes as “thrilling and exciting and challenging” and a place where she grew a lot.

“It has so much to offer, but it is intense,” she says. “There’s the pace, the sheer amount of people living on that small island of Manhattan. The energy is different, the spirit of the place is different, the vibe.”

The biggest difference Pereira’s fans will notice is that her HLN morning news package will focus on the people behind the stories and how, for example, they’ve been affected by the headlines.

While her team plans to reach out to newsmakers in various fields, Michaela will differ in that it gives them a chance to talk about their passion projects, she adds.

“We’re not trying to reinvent the wheel here, but I’m hoping to bring a different sense and sensibility to our show,” said Pereira, who bristles at the notion this is “soft” news. “We know there are incredible developments happening every day.”

Potential news could focus on space exploration, scientific or medical breakthroughs and stories that inspire conversations about health and education issues, for instance.

“It’s still news, but it’s not just about the things that terrify us,” she says. “I think [soft news] is a construct that I choose not to buy into.”

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