Detroit's Fox 2 will go through some major changes next year.
Longtime anchor Huel Perkins is expected to retire and Monica Gayle is considering doing the same.
Perkins, 67, who has been with the station since 1989, is expected to exit around March, a source familiar with the situation tells Deadline Detroit. Perkins says there's no firm date yet.
Gayle, 61, who joined the station in 1997, tells Deadline Detroit she hasn't made up her mind, but is considering an exit.
"I am definitely going to retire, as I said two years ago," Perkins told Deadline Detroit Tuesday.
He said his decision to do so sooner than later came after the recent death of close friend Steve Hood, a political consultant and TV and radio personality, and learning of a grave illness impacting another close friend. Hood died in August from cancer.
"The death of Steve Hood really opened my eyes. He was just 58," Perkins said. "I'm going to live while I can still live life. Even though Steve's death made me extremely sad, it also inspired me because he decided to live the most wonderful life he could in the time he had."
Gayle tells Deadline Detroit she's "noodling" with the idea, but "I haven't made a decision yet. I'm still talking with my husband."
She concurs with Perkins and says illnesses impacting friends has made her see life differently. "Friends have had medical crises that have changed their lives forever. It just reminds us that life is precious and is fragile and can change on a dime."
She said Covid has also impacted her thinking about the future. "This has really been a year of soul-searching. We want to make life count and we want to enjoy it."
Whatever happens, she says: "Huel and I have had a great run together."
Rumors are circulating that Fox 2 veterans Roop Raj and Taryn Asher may be candidates to replace them. News director Kevin Roseborough and the station's General Manager Greg Easterly did not return a call for comment Tuesday.
The retirements of both veterans would leave WDIV's Devin Scillian as the most seasoned anchor in the Detroit market. Scillian joined WDIV as a reporter in 1995, and became an anchor the following year.
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Perkins hosts the 6 p.m and 10 p.m. broadcasts, "The Edge" and hosts "Let It Rip!" at 10:30 p.m. on Thursday. Gayle is on the 6 p.m. and 10 p.m. broadcasts and "The Edge" at 11 p.m.
Perkins' affection has grown for Metro Detroit during his time as an anchor.
"Over the years, I've developed a deep and abiding faith in the people of metro Detroit," he wrote in his station bio. "Time after time, I've seen us overcome enormous odds. No matter where we live or what we do, there is a sense of community that always seems to bring us together. There is nothing we cannot achieve ... no problem that we can't solve."
Fox 2 and WDIV have battled for ratings in recent years for some key broadcast slots.
In recent years, Detroit has lost some top anchors to retirement. WDIV's Carmen Harlan stepped down in 2016 and WXYZ's Stephen Clark left the station in 2018. Long before that, Mort Crim retired from WDIV in 1997.