WPXI-TV’s (11) anchor team of David Johnson and Peggy Finnegan have been on the air together for 20 years. According to the Post-Gazette, it makes them the longest paired Pittsburgh TV news team and perhaps the most durable TV coupling in local TV history. The duo was paired in January of 1990 for the 5:30 and 6:00 p.m. newscasts before anchoring a new slot at 5:00 p.m. beginning later that year.
Finnegan admits that she didn’t expect to be in Pittsburgh longer than five years, but calls her connection with Johnson a “natural fit”. Johnson joined WPXI in 1985 and started anchoring the 6 and 11 p.m. newscasts in 1989 after the station auditioned other candidates for the position – including Nick Clooney, father of actor George Clooney. Other women were considered for Finnegan’s position including former Headline News anchor Lynne Russell.
The team recalled how they first learned that their newscast would expand to 90 minutes. “We found out about it from the Channel 11 magazine they mailed out to people,” said Johnson who saw the finished magazine cover in the art department. It read “Join Peggy and David for ‘First at 5’ debuting in September.”
Johnson, 52, and Finnegan who turns 50 this year, hope to work together for another 10 years. “…this isn’t San Diego or Los Angeles where they’re looking for the next 25-year-old,” said Johnson. General Manager Ray Carter said there are no plans to disrupt the team. “The audience is just so comfortable watching the two of them together,” he said.