Veteran Sacramento media personality Mark S. Allen, who resigned from “Good Day Sacramento” in March after his second driving-under-the-influence arrest, has taken a new job with Sacramento’s Channel 10 (KXTV).
Allen will become part of the station’s morning news team and “you’ll see his work on our other shows as well,” Channel 10 president and general manager Risa Omega wrote via e-mail. “I’ve been a fan of Mark’s (since) back when he worked at the station during the early years of ‘Scratch,’ and for the last 20 years while he was … at the competition.”
Allen said his first day at Channel 10 will be Friday, but Omega would not pinpoint a date for his first appearance.
Allen began his television career in 1988 at KXTV, where he appeared with Lisa Ling on the teen show “Scratch,” which later became nationally syndicated. Allen’s new gig will involve entertainment coverage, stories on local people and working with an on-air team that includes Walt Gray, who ranks with Allen as one of the region’s best-known media figures.
His previous stint at Channel 10 was “the most formative growth period of my career,” Allen said. “And I know without a doubt, based on meetings with (KXTV parent company) Tegna, that I am about to go through another formative growth period.”
Allen said his new deal with KXTV/Tegna could potentially revive his “Mark at the Movies” review and interview show, which was produced by and aired on “Good Day” station Channel 31 (KMAX) and also nationally, on ReelzChannel. Regarding prospects for the movie show, Omega said: “Mark has a lot of ideas and we have a few of our own. We’re still looking at possibilities and opportunities.”
Allen resigned on-air from “Good Day” after nearly 20 years, during which he won an avid following for his lively celebrity interviews and such stunts as a bridge-to-bridge swim in the San Francisco Bay.
His resignation came three months after he was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence in Roseville, after fellow motorists reported a vehicle driving erratically. Allen’s first DUI arrest occurred in 2006, at Sacramento International Airport.
Allen said he began receiving job inquiries in January, after completing a monthlong rehabilitation program, and when his future with Channel 31, which had removed him from the air pending an internal investigation, was unclear. The offers became more “meaningful,” he said, after he “came clean” about his drinking and recovery process in the on-air March resignation video and a separate Facebook video message to fans that drew more than 230,000 views.
“I’ve never thought such love from a community possible,” Allen said. “I have had such overwhelming support.”
Partly in response to the outpouring from fans, he will spend part of his time at Channel 10 “celebrating local heroes in the community,” Allen said. “I don’t think in my lifetime I will be able to pay (people) back, but I will do my best.”
He considered positions in New York and Los Angeles, but liked the idea of celebrating Sacramentans, he said, and Tegna’s digital-first strategies. “Their ideas are revolutionary, and groundbreaking,” he said. “There are changes that are coming that will be aggressive, disruptive, but great for Sacramento.”
Omega also hinted at big things to come. “We have a lot of exciting changes planned over the next few months that require new thinking, new insights and fresh perspective. Mark brings the energy and positivity that will fit right in with that.”
Neither Allen nor Omega would elaborate about the new developments. Omega also declined to comment on details of Allen’s employment agreement, including its length and whether it contains a personal-conduct clause, because “employee agreements are confidential,” she said. But she indicated that Allen and station management had addressed Allen’s arrests and recovery process.
“Mark has been nothing but honest and forthcoming about his issue and what he had done to deal with it,” Omega said. “He has expressed an absolute willingness to do whatever it takes to win back the trust and confidence of our community, first and foremost, and prove himself to his new family at ABC10. Recovery is an ongoing process, and we support him completely as we would any other employee that works here.”
Allen said he “had to convince them, and rightly so, and with full authenticity, that I have the issue under control.” He assured Channel 10 management “that I have the steps in place, and it is going to be an everyday part of my consciousness.”
Allen told The Sacramento Bee in March that even after his first DUI he did not consider himself to have a drinking problem. But after his mother died last year, he started “going deeper” with drinking at parties. “It became a problem.”
Allen now attends weekly meetings attached to his monthlong rehab program. He also attends mandatory DUI classes as part of his sentence for the December arrest, which included a 12-day stay in the South Placer jail. He has been sober for six months.
“I don’t take this for granted,” Allen said of his new job. “I am so grateful that someone believes in me. I am not going to let them down.”