KTHV in Little Rock is bringing back longtime anchor and weatherman Tom Brannon as chief meteorologist as Ed Buckner extends his medical leave indefinitely.
THV11 President and General Manager Marty Schack made the announcement Thursday, describing filling Buckner’s shoes as a difficult task. Buckner took leave as weather chief in February citing complications from Tourette’s syndrome, a condition he had worked with and talked about often since joining the Little Rock CBS affiliate in 1996.
“While Ed’s departure … has been heartbreaking for so many of the station’s longtime viewers and THV11 staff, we wish him only good health in the coming year,” Schack said in a statement. “But I am delighted to welcome Tom back to the station where he has helped guide Arkansans through severe weather, provided smart forecasting, entertained us and contributed greatly in his community endeavors.”
In a Facebook post, Buckner said he’s doing well and working hard to heal, “but having tics for 45 years has a way of wearing out your body, and I am still not 100%.”
Buckner was THV11’s chief meteorologist for more than 20 years, “many of them with Tom Brannon by his side,” the station said.
“I wish Ed nothing but the best,” Brannon said in a news release. “He will always be ‘Arkansas’ Weatherman.’”
Brannon appeared weekdays on Channel 11 for 20 years and was a part of the station’s morning show since its inception. He left the station in 2017 as the longest-running morning anchor in the market’s history, the station said. He joined Ron Sherman Productions of Little Rock, founded by another longtime Arkansas weatherman, a record-breaking maker of nationally aired commercials, often for home-improvement contractors.
“I look forward to my next chapter at THV11," Brannon said. "You don’t always get a chance at a second act, and for that, I’m very grateful.”
Brannon was a pioneer of Channel 11’s annual Summer Cereal Drive, and his humanitarianism went hand in hand with professional dedication, KTHV News Director Shayla Teater said.
He’ll appear weeknights and lead the station’s weather team, Teater said.
No date for Brannon’s return was announced.
(Arkansas Business and KTHV have a news-sharing partnership.)