If television is a mirror, then Richmond's successful television news anchors surely must personify the qualities we crave.
Take the 22-year run of maternalistic sweetness in Lisa Schaffner, who left 8 News in 2008. Or her former colleague and foil, Juan Conde, who remains the calm, cool badass he always was, luring devotees with his Puerto Rican sultriness.
At CBS 6, there's the familiarity and presence of long-reigning afternoon queen, Cheryl Miller. Was there ever a time when she wasn't on the air? Stephanie Rochon offers no-nonsense poise; Julie Bragg bags the girl-next-door brand.
And who among us isn't taken by the youthful panache of NBC 12's impeccably dressed Aaron Gilchrist, or the joie de vivre of his upstart colleague, Ryan Nobles, he of the social media and dimples? Their slick, sly uncle with a twinkle in his eye is Curt Autry, who reminds everyone of someone.
Gene Cox embodies none of these qualities.
The venerable NBC 12 anchor is not sugary, nor full of poise, and he would never deign to ooze on-air pleasantry. His youthfulness was drained long ago. His sex appeal is known only to the rarest among us. He's not slick, or a good-time Charlie, and he has no use for such hoo-ha as Twitter — though fine, he did start a YouTube account.
Perhaps that's exactly why Cox is untouched as the man behind the desk. He drew headlines for stepping down this year from his 11 p.m. stint with Sabrina Squire so he could finally go to bed a little earlier. He's no one we aspire to be, because we already are him: a little grouchy, a little sarcastic, a little amused by it all. He's real. He's genuine. And hey, misread a line, whatever. Next story! Moving on.
And this was the decade in which it all came to be: In 2006 Cox won a well-deserved lifetime achievement Emmy in Washington, D.C., which he probably put somewhere in his house but can't remember where. He'll look for it the next time you want to stop by. So how about “Glazed Donuts,” Vol. 2?
Anchor of the Decade: Gene Cox
Runners-Up: Cheryl Miller, Juan Conde, Lisa Schaffner.