Cynthia Izaguirre grew up in DFW, and she went through a lot of small markets -- Abilene, Tyler, Albuquerque -- to get back home, where she wanted to be all along. "People at McDonald's made more money than I did when I started in Abilene," she says.
She made her WFAA/Channel 8 on-air debut in January 2008 after Jackie Hyland, then News 8 Daybreak's co-anchor, left the station in late 2007.
Izaguirre worked for a couple of years with Chris Flanagan, who was reassigned in 2011 (he's no longer with the station). That's when Ron Corning came in -- you may have noticed the months-long promotional campaign for him -- making his on-air debut in April last year. Corning has plenty of morning experience, having worked on the CW's The Daily Buzz and Good Day New York, as well as ABC's overnight newscast.
The pair are out to make a third-place newscast No. 1, and there have been signs that they're gaining ground on rivals KDFW/Channel 4 and KXAS/Channel 5, especially in the 6 a.m. hour.
On whether they're morning people
Corning: I don't think anybody is this kind of morning person. I mean, you can be early morning, but doing this defies even an early-morning riser. People say to me that they wake up in time to watch us, and I say 'Gosh, that's early.' They say, 'Oh, I just wake up at a quarter to 5,' and I guess I've been up an hour and a half, two hours by then.
Izaguirre: It's a tough shift, but I actually do love mornings. I'm the kind of person who gets up and I'm like, 'Rise and shine, everyone!' It can really drive people nuts, so I try to tone it down and not be too chipper. But as the morning progresses, around 6 a.m., that's when I let it all out.
Corning: I kind of have mine, as much as I can, down to a science, where I can get everything laid out the night before. I live really close to [the studio]. That's by design -- I've done this shift long enough. I try to get up and out the door in less than 40 minutes.
Izaguirre: My schedule has really changed since I gave birth to twins in April. I have to really be careful with the way I utilize my time. First and foremost, I get to bed between 6:30 and 7 at night. I get up at 2, grab my makeup, put my base on, my foundation, some powder, and then I grab the rest of my makeup and exit the room because the twins are still in the room with us, and I don't want to wake them up. I'll sit down and read my devotional for the morning, then if I can I'll let the dogs out and stargaze a minute. I like to look at the sky. I get to the station, put my makeup on and start going through scripts.
Corning: When I was working in New York, there was a 24-hour Starbucks. I used to do five shots of Americano over ice in a Venti cup with two Splendas and half-and-half. Now I just do one Starbucks VIA pack a morning
Izaguirre: Every morning, I drink 32 ounces of cold water. That gets my morning off to a wonderful start. I don't drink coffee.
On why morning TV is becoming more important
Izaguirre: People want their news as they head out the door. A lot of folks don't have the time or the energy to stay up late to get their news, so in the morning, you have to be up, you've got to get the kids ready for school, and inevitably the TV is going to go on in the background. And you want to be aware of what's happening in your nook and cranny of the world, and hopefully we're giving you a piece of that, [while] sprinkling the show with some fun.
Corning: That doesn't mean you're on 'Kardashian watch,' but if something's happening, if it's as pervasive as it is, our take on it might be, 'Are you as sick of this as we are?' But in effect, you're still reporting on it, and that's just another way to approach it.
On their chemistry
Izaguirre: We just have it. [To Corning:] You know how it works? I am who I am, and you are who you are.
Corning: We call each other out, and --
Izaguirre: -- We're honest with each other.
Corning: I didn't audition. I met her on a Wednesday, and we hit the air on a Thursday. But we did make an effort to get to know each other. Once I got here, we went out, and I know her husband and I've met the kids, and she knows my family. There are things I've learned and know about her because I took an interest, and the fact that she's not completely up on pop-culture references from when I was a kid, even though we're the same age.
Izaguirre: Because I was watching telenovelas when I grew up.
What happens after the show's over
Izaguirre: If we have a story idea, we'll go out and shoot it. We spend a lot of time working the phones and making sure we are getting visitors to come in.
Corning: I tend to produce a lot of segments and book guests to come in. It's not that I'm a control freak, but if I bring an idea to the table, I'll see it through. Because I'm in Dallas, and I live close to the studio, I tend to do earlier-evening [appearances] in the city, but you can't do everything.
Izaguirre: Being from Dallas, I get asked to do a lot [of appearances], and I'll do it as often as I can. Especially when it has to do with speaking to kids, with me being a product of the Dallas Independent School District, and anything women's-issues-related. I'm just trying to be a positive role model out there, because kids are watching.