NBC 5 insiders line up to replace Vatis

Kim Vatis

Kim Vatis

Four reporters at WMAQ-Channel 5 will take turns filling in as weekend morning news anchor while the station seeks a replacement for Kim Vatis, who signed off Sunday.

Michelle Relerford, Lauren Petty, Emily Florez and Susan Carlson will anchor Saturday and Sunday mornings alongside Anthony Ponce in the coming weeks — although NBC 5 bosses say their search isn’t limited to station insiders.

“We’re looking at a number of candidates, both internal and external,” Frank Whittaker, station manager and vice president of news at NBC 5, told me Sunday. “A final decision is still a few weeks away.”

Saying “the timing feels right for change,” Vatis, 49, announced in October that she was resigning after 16 years at the station and nearly 30 years in journalism. Starting in January, she plans to spend two months in Thailand.

Before her final broadcast, Vatis wrote on Facebook: “Moving on and so lucky to take nearly 30 great years of memories with me . . . 16 at NBC 5. Thank you Chicago! Will be so hard to walk away from this weekend team, and the best crews and journalists in the business, but a new door has opened and a new life outside of news. Certainly hope to visit now and then. I can’t erase what I love. But . . . Life outside the box, here I come!”

Vatis joined NBC 5 in 1997 after working as anchor and reporter in Orlando, Jacksonville and Gainesville, Florida, and Bangor, Maine. She graduated from the University of Florida.

Here is a gallery of the four inside candidates for the weekend morning anchor job: