Rick Williams named 6ABC’s new 11 p.m. Action News anchor
He will replace longtime anchor and legendary broadcaster Jim Gardner, who announced his retirement at the end of the year.
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On the same day Jim Gardner would anchor his final 11 p.m. Action News broadcast, 6ABC announced his successor in none other than Rick Williams.
Williams will team with sports director Ducis Rodgers and chief meteorologist Cecily Tynan on the 11 p.m. broadcast, the station announced on Tuesday, Jan. 11.
In a statement announcing the news, 6ABC President & General Manager Bernie Prazenica and Vice President of News Tom Davis, praised their selection.
“Rick is uniquely qualified by his 30+ years of experience in anchoring Action News in the morning, noon and evening. His knowledge of our region and deep roots in our community make him the perfect choice,” said Prazenica.
Davis added, “Rick has a rare combination of being a great newsman and an even better person! He's truly earned our viewers respect and trust.”
Williams has more recently co-anchored Action News at 5 p.m. on 6ABC and Action News at 10 p.m., on PHL17, in addition to reporting for Action News’ weekly “Crimefighters” series for unsolved murders in the Philadelphia area.
After the announcement was made, Williams expressed his admiration for Gardner, as well as his excitement for the new role.
"It's no small thing to be able to follow a news icon and, in many ways, a role model,” said Williams in a statement. “Jim set the journalistic bar very high at 11 o'clock, and I hope I can maintain the same standard of excellence ... while also having a bit of fun with my evening colleagues. It's going to be exciting!"
Many of Williams’ 6ABC colleagues took to social media to congratulate him on the new role, including Gardner himself:
Thrilled to retweet this from Channel 6! Go get 'em Rick! I'd say good luck, but you sure don't need it. https://t.co/bNXi9Po3d0— Jim Gardner (@Jim_Gardner) January 11, 2022
In Nov. Gardner, 73, announced he would be scaling back his schedule as he gets set for retirement at the end of the year after more than 40 years anchoring the 11 p.m. news. He will continue to anchor the 6 p.m. news for the remainder of the year.
Williams has also turned himself into a familiar face at both the station and Philadelphia area, arriving to both in 1988. Prior to that, he had stints working in stations in Raleigh, North Carolina; Huntington, West Virginia and Washington D.C.
Throughout his more than 30 years with the station, Williams has won a number awards and covered a variety of event, including hosting the annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade since 2009. He began his career in radio shortly after graduating from Howard University with a bachelor’s degree in broadcast journalism.
Williams was inducted into the Broadcast Pioneers Hall of Fame in 2010.
A native of White Plains, New York, Williams has considered Philadelphia his home for more than half his life.
During his final 11 p.m. broadcast on Tuesday, Jan. 10, Gardner reflected on his more than 40-year journey with the station, before officially passing the torch to Williams.
Here’s part two. Gardner officially announces that Rick Williams will take over as anchor of the 11pm newscast starting tomorrow. pic.twitter.com/qMOzinexco— David Grzybowski (@DavidGrzyTV) January 12, 2022
Final part. Nice moment to have Rick Williams on the set at the end of the newscast. 11pm anchor chair was officially passed on. pic.twitter.com/6iWRFA2cch— David Grzybowski (@DavidGrzyTV) January 12, 2022
Williams' first night as the new 11 p.m. Action News anchor is tonight, Jan. 12.