WWL-TV news director Nicole Waivers

WWL-TV introduced Nicole Waivers as the station's news director on Friday, May `12, 2023. 

The WWL-TV news operation has a new leader.

Tyrianne “Nicole” Waivers will become the New Orleans CBS affiliate's news director Monday. She succeeds Keith Esparros, who retired after eight years in the job.

Waivers is the executive producer of WWL’s 10 p.m. newscast, a position the New Orleans native has held since January 2022.

Previously at Dallas station

A graduate of Edna Karr High School and Loyola University, Waivers previously worked as an executive news editor at WFAA in Dallas. An ABC affiliate, WFAA is owned by Tegna Inc., the same company that owns WWL-TV.

While at WFAA, Waivers came to New Orleans to help with WWL’s Hurricane Ida coverage. That, according to a story posted on WWL’s website, helped rekindle her affection for her hometown.

“I love New Orleans like I’m married to it,” she’s quoted as telling a gathering of her colleagues in the WWL newsroom. “Louisiana is my home. The food, music and culture run through my veins. I watched WWL-TV as a child. I can think of no greater honor than to lead this newsroom.”

Line of legends

She steps into a job previously occupied by such local media legends as Phil Johnson, Jim Boyer, Joe Duke, Sandy Breland, Chris Slaughter and Bill Siegel.

Esparros announced his retirement in March. He spent 43 years in TV news, working mostly in his native New Orleans as well as Los Angeles.

On the heels of Esparros' announcement, WWL-TV General Manager Tod Smith stated his intention to name Esparros’ successor “sooner rather than later.”

'Rare combination'

He had to look no further than his own newsroom.

“Nicole brings a rare combination of big market experience and a passion and love for her hometown, New Orleans," Smith said. "She gets southeast Louisiana because she is from here and that makes her the perfect choice to lead our newsroom into the future.”

At WFAA, Waivers guided the station's coverage of such high-profile stories as the 2016 Dallas police ambush and the 2021 school shooting at Timberview High School, which earned the station an Edward R. Murrow award.

In the past year at WWL, she has coordinated such ambitious projects as the “Wounded City” documentary about crime and its causes.

She is the first African-American news director in WWL-TV's 65-year history. 

Email Keith Spera at kspera@theadvocate.com.