A news anchor in Albany, New York, who many believed was drunk during a live broadcast has explained the heartbreaking reason behind her behavior.
Heather Kovar, an Emmy-winning reporter, appeared disheveled and was slurring her words while anchoring a double shift for CBS affiliate WRGB on Saturday. In a statement to NBC News and the Albany Times Union, Kovar said she was dealing with a tremendous amount of stress.
“I recently returned early from family leave following my dad’s death,” Kovar said in the statement. “On Friday, I notified the station I would not be renewing my contract which expires July 31. Saturday I was scheduled to work the early morning 6 a.m. shift and the evening shift. I was sleep-deprived and exhausted.”
She also told People that “it has been an exhausting time using my time off to fly to family in between shifts.”
WRGB confirmed in a statement to NBC that Kovar informed the station she was not going to renew her contract Friday. But due to the on-air incident, it “has been decided that she will remain off the air for the remainder of her contract.”
Kovar told People that “the situation has been amicably handled with the station.”
Viewers expressing concern over train wreck of local evening newscast out of Albany. Anchor Heather Kovar appeared disheveled, misspoke, and slurred her words for the entire newscast. Here, she tries to set up the weather and toss to the meteorologist, who’s name she gets wrong. pic.twitter.com/70jwwvykKt
— Mike Sington (@MikeSington) July 10, 2022
Kovar appeared to be struggling through her 6 p.m. broadcast on Saturday. Her hair appeared messy, she struggled to read her script on the teleprompter, and at one point even used the wrong name for one of her colleagues.
In other clips from her broadcast, Kovar began explaining the news of a shooting in Ohio by saying, “We have to tell you, also, you know, like the other news that’s happening in the area and across the, you know, the area and the nation. A four — let me tell you about this — a 4-year-old girl is actually dead. Another man is clinging to life after a shooting in Ohio.”
Kovar corroborated that she was working a double shift that day in a tweet early Saturday.
Kovar seems to want to put the whole incident behind her.
“I was hoping to create a better situation,” she told People. “I just hope people will understand as I move forward in what is next.”