Atlanta native Laura Harris has been named as NBCDFW's weekday morning co-anchor alongside Deborah Ferguson. The two-woman team are on air from 4:30 to 7 a.m. Monday through Friday on NBC Channel 5.
Harris takes the place of Marc Fein, whose last day on NBCDFW's morning show was Feb. 8.
Beyond early-morning anchor hours, Harris also anchors the 11 a.m. news hour on Mondays and Tuesdays.
Harris, 33, is a former Division I soccer player from Georgia Southern University, a "city girl" who loves lifting weights and a student of Texas barbecue. (Don't tell her friends in Georgia.)
We asked Harris a few questions so you can get to know her better. The questions and answers are edited for clarity and length.
What time do you get up?
"The clock goes off at 1:50 a.m.," she says. "And you don't hit the snooze button. That's the trick, you can't hit the snooze button." Harris is in the newsroom by about 2:45 a.m.
So, then, when's bedtime? "If I were smart, going to bed about 6:30 [p.m.], that's perfect," she says. But she's lured by sporting events and concerts, saying that she hasn't totally given up evening activities for the early-morning alarm.
"I call it dark and early," she says of her morning-show shift. "When you're getting up dark and early, you just deal with it. I love what I do every day, so I think that's also part of it."
Did you always plan on being a TV anchor?
"Not at all," she says. "This is not what I was supposed to be doing. I went to school to be a sports agent. I was going to be the next Jerry Maguire. I realized halfway through it, I love sports but I don't know if this is what I wanted to do."
While in college at Georgia Southern, she spent summers interning at CNN, TNT Sports and the NBC affiliate in Atlanta. Her first job was in tiny Toccoa, Ga., where her salary was so low that she drove home to Atlanta on the weekends to work two 8-hour shifts at CNN to make enough money to get by.
"I worked 7 days a week for a long time," she says. "The grind has always been real."
What brought you to Dallas?
After jobs in the southeast part of the United States — as a morning anchor in Charleston, S.C., and as a morning reporter and evening anchor in Tampa, Fla., all for ABC affiliates — Harris moved to Dallas in the fall of 2018 and split her time as a weekend evening anchor and a weekday reporter on KXAS-TV, the NBC affiliate.
"This is the furthest I've ever lived from home," Harris says. "This is the first time I've ever lived not driving distance from my parents. ... But I never hesitated [to take this job]."
"I'm still sitting here like, I can't believe this," she says. "It's truly my dream job."
How do you feel about being part of a two-woman morning show?
"I think that in the beginning, when we started seeing more female anchor teams, I think that was part of the #MeToo movement," she says. "... So where some people might see that as a necessity, I see it as this huge opportunity." She looks at female anchors like Barbara Walters, Diane Sawyer, Robin Roberts and more who paved the way for women to sit in the anchor chair.
"Men and women can do the exact same jobs — and do really good work," she says.
And of her co-anchor Ferguson, she says she's "the hardest working person I have ever, ever worked beside as an anchor."
"On her worst day, she can still look over and say, 'What can I do to help you?' ... It's refreshing and it's nice — and you just don't meet a lot of people like that anymore. To be able to sit next to her, that's a big deal for me."
What should we know about you that we might not see on TV?
"I can't overstate enough how awesome my family is. ... I don't think I'd be here without their support," she says. "Them, and my faith, is how I got here."
Harris is happy to talk about her faith, too, saying she's a devout Catholic. Her favorite Bible verse is Jeremiah 29:11, which seems fitting as Harris takes this new job: "'For I know the plans I have for you,' declares the Lord, 'plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.'"
"There's something beautiful in believing something you can't see," Harris says. "Also just knowing somebody is watching over you, even in your darkest times. ... It doesn't work for everybody. But as the Bible says, 'As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.'"