A familiar face is coming home to KENS 5 to tell San Antonians "It's going to be a Great Day, SA!"
Cristina Blackwell is returning to San Antonio to become the host of "Great Day SA," KENS 5's award-winning morning lifestyle show, the station announced Thursday.
She is scheduled to make her "Great Day SA" debut during the week of Jan. 30.
"I'm overwhelmed with excitement! This is my dream come true," Blackwell said. "San Antonio is where I was born, got my degree, started my career and met my husband. My heart is filled with joy."
Blackwell was an on-air host for Univision in San Antonio from 2009 to 2011 and then moved on to work for Univision in Miami, Europe and New York.
Most recently, she had reduced her schedule to freelance work as she cares for her 19-month-old son, William Robert, her first child with her husband, Pete MacArthur, who is a professional hockey player.
"I think she can relate to San Antonio viewers. She's a mother... she's recently married," said Luis Muñoz, the show's executive producer. "She's a hometown girl who moved away, found love and a career, and now she's coming back to fulfill a dream."
"The universe has certain plans for you," Blackwell said. "I didn't realize how much I wanted this until I got the call."
Tom Cury, KENS 5 general manager, said Blackwell is the perfect addition to the "Great Day SA" family.
"Cristina is an experienced host with great energy and connection to San Antonio," he said. "I am sure 'Great Day SA' viewers are going to enjoy getting to know her, too."
Muñoz said Blackwell was an intern on the show in 2007, making her return to "Great Day SA" a "full-circle moment."
"Back then, she could only dream of hosting the show, and now she gets to fulfill that dream and follow in the footsteps of Bridget Smith, someone she admires greatly," Muñoz said.
Blackwell joins the "Great Day SA" team at a time of transition, including Smith's departure and the recent addition of reporter Roma Villavicencio. Blackwell said she knows that she has to find her own path.
"I don't want to imitate Bridget. She's irreplaceable," Blackwell said. "I want to start a new chapter and shine a light on what I'm passionate about."
Muñoz agreed that Blackwell will take the show in a new direction, and that's how "Great Day SA" will continue to grow.
"She's not going to be Bridget," he said. "She will bring another perspective. The show is evolving, and she's going to help it go there."
"Great Day SA" airs Monday through Friday at 9 a.m. on KENS 5.