Weatherman Tony Perkins, a former GMAer, is now part of Washington, DC’s WTTG-TV/Fox 5 morning team. It’s a return home for the Washington native. Tony began his career as an ABC News desk assistant, and has done stand-up comedy professionally. Perkins is married with one son.
1. TVNewser: The biggest difference between doing national and local TV:
Perkins: Resources. At the networks they have greater resources that allow you to cover a story however it needs to be covered. You also, generally speaking, have greater clout, which allows you to get to people or get into places that you might not otherwise be able to get to. With local news, you can really feel like what you do is having a direct impact on your viewers. Frequently we will do a story and later that day, I’ll be out and about and someone will give me almost instant feedback on how that story may have affected them. You’re able to feel directly connected to your audience.
2. TVNewser: The most interesting weather story I have ever covered:
Perkins: Obviously, Katrina was extraordinary. But for me I’d have to say the Oklahoma tornadoes of May 1999. It was the first big weather story I was sent on for Good Morning America, and we flew in on a chartered jet — talk about resources — while the storms were still brewing. It was pretty scary. Also, I had never seen utter devastation like I saw there. Freight cars had been tossed around like tin cans, and trees were stripped of their bark.
3. TVNewser: Coming home to Washington, D.C. has been…
Perkins: Rewarding. The Washington audience has really welcomed me back. Not a day goes by that someone doesn’t say to me “I’m glad you’re back.” And the folks at Fox treat me well and with respect, which is nice.
4. TVNewser: The funniest comedians of all-time:
Perkins: Richard Pryor, Bill Cosby, Johnny Carson, and Jerry Seinfeld. Chris Rock can be brilliant. Robin Harris, Richard Jeni, and Mitch Hedberg, all of whom we lost too soon. And two comedians you may not have heard of but who are two of the best in the business today: Chris Paul (of The Donnie Simpson Show on WPGC radio here in D.C.), and Brett Leake, who has appeared on The Tonight Show but deserves to be much more famous than he is.
5. TVNewser: What I miss most about working with Diane Sawyer and Charlie Gibson:
Perkins: Making Charlie Gibson laugh.