Hall of Fame Television
John Beard provides a combination of journalistic credibility with Hollywood flash to the 2018 class. The former news anchor with WGRZ and, prior to that, WIVB has a recurring role playing himself in the television show Arrested Development.
He began his broadcasting career in radio in his hometown of Saint Pauls, N.C. and continued on air work through the first two years of college. After serving four years as a Navy Corpsman with the U.S. Marines, Beard returned to college and switched to television, reporting and anchoring at WITN-TV in Washington, N.C., while going to school full time.
At WITN, he began as weekend anchor and full-time reporter. After just two months he was promoted to anchor of the station’s top-rated 11 o’clock newscast, which he also wrote and produced. During that time, John won several state AP awards for breaking news coverage.
Upon graduating from East Carolina University, John anchored and reported at WXII-TV in Winston Salem, N.C. for one year; beginning as weekend anchor and quickly being promoted to 11 o’clock anchor.
In 1977, John was hired as 11 o’clock anchor and reporter at WIVB-TV in Buffalo, N.Y. One year later he was promoted to 6 and 11 o’clock anchor.
Beard moved to Los Angeles in 1981 to KNBC where he anchored winning newscasts at four, five, six and 11. He is especially proud of the four p.m. show, which was a start-up newscast with few resources, but became number one in six months. At KNBC, Beard anchored and reported in the field on the El Nino storms, the Baldwin Hills fire and the L.A. Riots.
After a terrorist bombing destroyed the U.S. Marine barracks in Beirut, Beard traveled to Lebanon to cover the Marines there from Southern California. After finishing the story on the Marines, John was trapped in Beirut when the airport and harbor were closed. During that time he was able to facilitate the release of a Lebanese orphan that had been adopted by an L.A. couple who couldn’t get him out of the war-torn country. In a surprise move, Beard brought the infant home with him and presented the little boy on December 20 to his new family with the message: “Merry Christmas from Beirut”.
Burbank turned out to be more dangerous than Beirut one afternoon when a gunman took over the KNBC studios during a live four p.m. newscast. John also anchored national newsbreaks in NBC and filled in for Bryant Gumbel on the Today show.
In 1993, Beard was hired by a floundering KTTV to bring credibility and stability to their 10 p.m. newscast. The ratings climbed immediately and the station became the dominant 10 p.m. newscast. Beard won numerous Emmys for reporting, including a half-hour special on Americans missing in Nuevo Laredo Mexico, live Hurricane coverage on the Gulf coast, gavel-to-gavel anchoring of the O.J. Simpson criminal trial, the LA Bank of America shootout, dozens of brushfires, and the Northridge Earthquake.
Beard was the viewers’ choice as favorite news anchor in nearly every newspaper poll taken in L.A. over 25 years and enjoys a reputation as one of L.A.’s most trusted newsmen. When KTTV began a series of cutbacks, John’s contract was not renewed and he returned to Buffalo in 2009 to co-anchor the WGRZ morning show Daybreak with Jodi Johnston and, later, Melissa Holmes from 2009 until he retired early this year.
Beard also plays himself in the comedy series Arrested Development which now appears on Netflix. John says, “The best thing about playing yourself is…nobody can take your place.”