Demetria Kalodimos and WSMV have settled the longtime anchor and reporter’s age-discrimination lawsuit, according to attorneys for both sides.
“Demetria is an important face in the life of WSMV and provided 33 years of talented and dedicated service to its viewers,” says Patrick McCreery, the president of Meredith Local Media Group. "That is the longest continuously serving anchor in WSMV’s history. She helped the station navigate through the untimely death of WSMV’s former co-anchor, Dan Miller, in 2009, was a tireless advocate for journalistic integrity, and was fearless in upholding the high news standards and traditions of WSMV. Her many awards and recognitions from peer and national broadcast organizations are evidence of that commitment."
“We at WSMV sincerely regret the way in which Demetria’s departure was handled,” says René LaSpina, current vice president and general manager of WSMV. "Communication is always a subject for sensitivity and we understand her concerns. The steps taken during this mediation to share our perspectives directly with one another in an impactful and respectful manner have been beneficial. We wish Demetria only the best as she continues to herald exemplary journalism principles." An unattributed portion of the statement notes that “WSMV-TV also commits that women and men of all ages will be recognized, valued and judged only on the merits of their contributions to our company’s mission.”
Kalodimos sued the Meredith Corporation, Channel 4's corporate parent, in federal court in late 2018 after an acrimonious parting-of-ways at the end of 2017. The suit alleged Meredith discriminated against the anchor because of her age, saying that WSMV “engages in a continuing pattern and practice of gender- and age-based discrimination” by replacing on-air personalities who are older with younger ones. “Channel 4 moves to replace older females at a much younger age than older males.”
In the statement, Kalodimos looks forward as well as back at her career at WSMV.
“I have many sweet memories of my nearly 34 years on Knob Hill, and the superior work we produced there, at Nashville’s first and finest TV Station — WSMV," she says. "I appreciate my time associated with the station and I believe that like many women and older professionals, I am still at the top of my game. I’m certainly not retiring from journalism.
“I am excited to pursue new avenues to inform, educate and inspire the people of Middle Tennessee," Kalodimos continues. "I encourage all businesses to support the value of institutional knowledge and longtime commitment, even as they pursue new ideas and innovations. I appreciate the conversations shared during our mediated process of resolution with the current leadership of the Station, and am pleased we have mutually resolved our differences. I am looking forward to a new venture in my work life, and to return to journalism after this professional ‘commercial break.’
“To my colleagues at WSMV: Thank you for your friendship, support and continued determination to seek the truth for its viewers. To my viewers: There is not a more loyal audience in Middle Tennessee and Southern Kentucky. Thank you for allowing me into your homes and hearts for decades. I hope to see you all soon. Stay tuned.”
Kalodimos arrived at WSMV in February 1984 as a reporter and weekend anchor with Teddy Bart. After a short period, she was promoted to anchoring the popular Scene at Six newscast with Dan Miller, Bill Hall and Charlie McAlexander. Over the next 33 years, Kalodimos would become one of Nashville’s most decorated television journalists, garnering 16 Emmys and winning three prestigious Investigative Reporters and Editors medals.
Kalodimos, 60, told the Nashville Scene with her contract up at WSMV on Dec. 31, 2017, she was offered a two-week extension “so that the station could create the illusion that I retired.” In court filings it was apparent that Kalodimos was not ready to leave the station or journalism.
Kalodimos' suit is separate from an age-discrimination suit filed against WSMV by Nancy Van Camp, Jennifer Johnson and Dennis Ferrier — that suit was later joined by Steven Good, the actor who portrayed Snowbird for more than 20 years. That suit settled in February. In her suit, Kalodimos alleged that WSMV retaliated against her for being a witness in an Equal Employment Opportunity Commission complaint filed by the other four.
This story first ran in our sister publication the Nashville Scene.