Frances Rivera at her WHDH-TV (Ch. 7) Boston news desk.
An Emmy-winning Philippine-born news anchor from Boston will soon be a familiar face among New York-New Jersey morning TV viewers.
Frances Rivera, the popular main anchor of NBC-affiliate WHDH-TV (Ch. 7) of Boston, is heading to New York — the country’s largest TV market — to join WPIX Morning News on Ch. 11 starting late August.
WPIX is owned by the Tribune Company.
Rivera, who co-anchored WHDH’s early evening and late newscasts since 2006, is Boston’s only Asian-American lead news anchor and one of the few nationwide.
Her last day there will be mid-August.
“That’s a badge that I am proud to wear anywhere I go, and it makes me appreciate the opportunity that I have and the opportunity that was given to me by Channel 7 (Boston),” she said in one interview.
Various prominent publications, including The Boston Globe, blared her departure.
Rivera, who was educated at the University of the Philippines, cited personal reasons, including the loss of her father and father-in law, for giving up her high-profile job in a city, where she’s also hailed as one of the most stylish fashionistas.
She said she wants her baby daughter Tessa (now 11 months old) to be close to her mother and brother, who live in New Jersey.
“For me, this isn’t a professional move. This is a personal move,’’ said the Fil-Am, whose work was honored by the prestigious Emmy Award from the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences (New England chapter).
In New York City, Rivera will be paired with WPIX perky veteran Sukanya Krishnan, an Indian-American, for the 7 a.m.-9 a.m. block of the breakfast news show.
That will make them the country’s first Asian-American anchor team in a morning news show.
Rivera will replace Chris Burrous, who moved to KTLA, also to be with his family.
“Frances’ experience and talent will be great assets to our award-winning morning newscast,” a WPIX spokesperson was quoted as saying.
“We’re looking forward to having her join the team later this summer.”
Rivera was three years old when she and her family, including two brothers, immigrated to Austin, Texas (they later moved to Dallas).
She went back to the Philippines to finish her studies, receiving her bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of the Philippines.
She returned to the U.S. after graduation and worked with KWTV (CBS) in Oklahoma City.
She also worked with KFDX (NBC) in Wichita Falls, Texas, and later spent four years in New York City working behind the scenes at CBS News on “This Morning” show.
She also spent a year with the network’s political unit on the campaign trail, following the major events for CBS’ national coverage of the 1996 presidential election.
At that time, she was also a freelance co-host and reporter for the nationally syndicated PBS program “Asian America.”
In 2001, Rivera joined Boston’s WHDH as a reporter and weekend anchor, and later morning news anchor.
She married Stuart Fraass, a Boston mortgage broker, in 2003.
In 2006, she was appointed to the number-two anchor position for the WHDH’s top-rating early evening news.
When the then-main anchor left, Rivera was made co-anchor of the highly competitive 5 p.m., 6 p.m. and 11 p.m. newscasts.
She also helmed a weekly cooking segment called “The Dish,” in which she would venture to a New England eatery and demonstrate how to cook a meal.
She’s also active in numerous charities in and around Boston.
To boost ratings, WHDH paired her up with fellow female anchor Kim Khazei in March 2009 to become the lead anchor team for the station’s 5 p.m., 6 p.m. and 11 p.m. newscasts.
It made them the first female lead anchor team in Boston, the country’s seventh largest market.
In one interview, Rivera credited her Filipino heritage as “the source of her adventurous spirit and dedication to community.”
“The satisfaction at the end of the day that comes from learning and knowing a little bit more about our community and the world than I did before coming in to work — and being part of the team that brings that knowledge to you at home,” she remarked in one article that profiled her.
Rivera will soon be joining WCBS’ Kristine Johnson and Hazel Sanchez, and WABC’s Nina Pineda, as New York’s most prominent Filipino-American TV journalists.