WASHINGTON, DC - After seven years as the station's Sports Director and primary sports anchor, Brett Haber has decided to leave WUSA-TV to pursue other opportunities in television. At the same time, he hopes to affect a long-desired change in his schedule which is more conducive to raising his young children. The announcement was made jointly today by Mr. Haber and Allan Horlick, WUSA's President and General Manager.
"Working at WUSA has been a privilege. It was particularly difficult to walk away from such a talented group of colleagues who are finally reaping the rewards for their hard work and dedication, but after 20 years behind the anchor desk, I've decided it's time to take the leap and concentrate on other areas of broadcasting about which I've become passionate in recent years."
Haber became well-known in Washington for his writing, which alternated between erudite, humorous, sardonic and provocative. For each of the past five years Haber has been honored with the Emmy Award as Washington's outstanding sports anchor. He has won five additional Emmys during his tenure at WUSA (three for writing) and 18 total during his broadcasting career. "Brett is one of the most talented broadcasters I've had the privilege of working with. His contributions to WUSA's growth these past seven years have been numerous. We are sorry to see him leave, but we part as friends and I'm sure success will follow him to his next endeavor," said Mr. Horlick.
Haber received widespread attention earlier this year for his commentaries in connection with the libel lawsuit filed by Washington Redskins' owner Daniel Snyder against the Washington City Paper. Haber, with the full support of WUSA, made an impassioned stand in support of the newspaper's First Amendment rights and against what he called, "Snyder's financial bullying, reckless claims of anti-Semitism and wanton misrepresentation of the truth." Haber's campaign helped launch a widespread outcry against Snyder's attempts to manipulate both the legal system and the media - one that earlier this month saw the ACLU and numerous other organizations file an Amicus Brief in federal court seeking the dismissal of the suit.
Haber's humor was on display every Thursday on WUSA with his signature highlight segment entitled, "The Good, The Bad & The Ugly". The piece featured the most outstanding, outrageous and sometimes implausible video clips of the week accompanied by Haber's creative commentary. It became a viewer favorite over the past five years.
Recently, Haber began contributing to WUSA in areas outside of sports. He served as a news anchor at various times, including during the station's marathon coverage of "Snowmagedden" two years ago. He also filed news reports during election night 2008, the presidential inaugural in 2009, the terror attack on Discovery Channel Headquarters in 2010 and the night of Osama Bin Laden's killing earlier this year. "Brett has been one of our most versatile players," said WUSA News Director Fred D'Ambrosi. "He is a unique talent who has been a catalyst for many of what we like to call Moments on 9-News. It's hard to teach that."
For the past several years, Haber has balanced his time at WUSA with his duties as a play-by-play announcer for Tennis Channel and for other national and regional sports networks. Among his various assignments this year, Haber was in Paris to call the French Open. "Tennis and play-by-play have been two longstanding passions of mine. In the past several years I've had the good fortune to be able to combine those passions. I look forward to now having time to pursue those opportunities more vigorously," said Haber.
No date has been set for Haber's final broadcast on WUSA. "I realize my decision comes at a busy time for sports in Washington. I want to be as helpful as I can while the station seeks my replacement, "said Haber. "We'll figure out the right time for me to sign off in the coming days and weeks."
Haber cited family as one of the primary motivations for his decision to step away from the anchor desk. "I have a 5-year old and a 9-year old. The nature of anchoring the news is that I work each day from 3pm to 11:30pm. That means I'm not home for the arrival of the school bus or after-school time or homework-time or dinner time or bedtime - that's a lot of time. That's not the father I want to be."
For Mr. Haber: Lou Oppenheim, Headline Media Management (212) 728-2009
Jon Venison, InsideOut Sports & Entertainment (646) 367-2770
For WUSA: Allan Horlick (202) 895-5900