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Monday, August 24, 2020

KHOU's Sally Ramirez to executive produce CNBC's “The News With Shepard Smith”

After announcing KHOU 11 departure in June, KHOU 11 news director Sally Ramirez to serve as CNBC's “The News With Shepard Smith” executive producer

KHOU 11 news director Sally Ramirez is heading to New York to be the Executive Producer of “The News With Shepard Smith” on CNBC which premieres Wednesday, September 30th at 6pm CT (official release here).

Earlier this summer, I broke the news that Ramirez and her husband/KHOU anchor, Russ Lewis, were leaving Houston and the TEGNA owned station after four and a half years.

"When I announced back in June that I was leaving KHOU and looking for my next challenge, I was flattered by all the opportunities that presented themselves," Ramirez told "I chose this one because I couldn’t resist a chance to build something brand new at the network level."

- Sally Ramirez to leave KHOU 11
- Russ Lewis to retire from KHOU

This is the first time I can think of a Houston TV news manager at any local station leaving for a network job. If there is one I don't know about or am just not remembering, I know you will correct me! :)


See, I told you someone would know. Larry Weidman, who succeeded Ray Miller as KPRC 2's news director, left for NBC News in 1980 spending 25 years there, as Bureau Chief in Houston, Tel Aviv and Rome and Producer/Correspondent in the Dallas Bureau.

He adds that KHOU 11 news director Alan Parcell left for CBS New York. Weidman adds that Parcell worked as a KPRC 2 reporter in the 1970s and was one of the first live shots with the fabled Big 2 Instant News Camera.

KTRK abc13 senior manager David Glodt left for ABC News New York.


Before you start contacting me, Sure I realize that many on-air talent have left KHOU for the national level. Of course Dan Rather left for CBS in the 1960s.

In more recent times, anchor Mia Gradney fill-in anchored CBS News's weekend newscast, reporter Vicente Arenas joined CBS News, reporter Gabe Gutierrez jumped to NBC News Atlanta and reporter Mark Greenblatt joined ABC News.

In my interactions with her, Ramirez has said she will always be a newscast producer at heart - her first job in the broadcasting business. By joining CNBC and Smith, she will be able to still flex those muscles in the ultimate role for a television journalist.

"I’m honored to be a part of the CNBC team that will launch the first general news program in the network’s history – especially with a well-respected veteran journalist like Shepard Smith leading the way," Ramirez told me. "This is the perfect job for me. It combines my passion for producing, my creativity and my decades of experience covering big stories."

Ramirez certainly took her time at KHOU and made it something special. Not only did she arrive in Houston to help rebuild channel 11's ratings, but she also actually was forced to help rebuild the entire station thanks to Hurricane Harvey.

At the same time, Ramirez kept the KHOU tradition of earning journalism awards.

- Ramirez wins "TV News Director" of the year from Media Alliance of Houston
- KHOU wins Regional Edward R. Murrow Awards
- KHOU ND Sally Ramirez gives "Wisdom from women who run newsrooms"
- KHOU 11's video tribute to ND Sally Ramirez

Ramirez joined KHOU from sister-station KGW Portland in 2016, jumping from assistant news director in Oregon to news director in Houston.

Lewis followed her a few months later and joined the station as its morning anchor.

What you might not realize is that Ramirez and Lewis actually met each other at their first TV job. Ramirez left Chicago to start her television news career as a producer at KTSM El Paso. Lewis was already there as a reporter. Somehow since then, they actually managed to work together, find jobs in the same market for the most part and actually remain married! Trust me, TV news romance stories are rare and mostly ephemeral.

The TV couple raised two daughters who are now attending college in Oregon.

And speaking of Oregon, that is where Lewis announced he is going after he leaves Houston. Lewis says he will be working in his family's businesses which is developing properties.
This will enable him to split his time between Oregon and New York City with Ramirez.

Ramirez's last day at KHOU will be August 28th. Turns out that Lewis's last day of his contract ends the same day.

In the memo that Ramirez sent to the KHOU newsroom announcing her new CNBC position, which was obtained by, Ramirez told her loyal staff that she was comfortable leaving KHOU right now because the newsroom was the strongest it had been in years. She urged her staff to take their competitive advantage and keep the ratings success momentum and keep it going.

Here is the full memo:

I want to share some news about my next move!

I have accepted a job at CNBC, as the Executive Producer of “The News with Shepard Smith”.

I am VERY excited to help launch this new, primetime network newscast.

The show debuts at the end of September, which means I need to get to New York ASAP.

My last day at KHOU will be this Friday, August 28th.

When NBC called me recently about this opportunity, I quickly learned a lot of people know KHOU’s story.

They know the great, award-winning work we produce.

They know we are a resilient newsroom.

They know no one covers breaking news better than we do.

I am counting on you guys to continue to build on our legacy.

I want each of you to know how much my 4 ½ years here at KHOU have meant to me – professionally and personally.

You were my family before my family arrived in Houston.

Together we rebuilt KHOU- literally and figuratively.

We’ve worked side-by-side covering some of the biggest stories of our careers and we did it under less than ideal conditions.

I will NEVER forget those challenging times.

As difficult as they were, we not only survived, we thrived. We came out stronger!

When COVID hit, we were already battle tested, and it shows.

I am comfortable leaving KHOU right now, because the newsroom is the strongest it’s been in years!

We are competitive again. We have momentum. We are seeing ratings success.


We’ve worked too hard to get here.

THANK YOU for allowing to be your team leader.

It’s been an honor, a privilege and I’ve had a BLAST!

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