Where Are They Now, part one: Edye Ellis

KNOXVILLE (WVLT) -- Have you ever thought about some of those local TV people you've watched over the years and wondered where and what they're doing now?

So have we. All week, we are bringing you a four part series on some of Knoxville's most recognizable personalities from decades ago.

Monday’s featured person remains one of the most recognizable faces in East Tennessee. For more than a decade she appeared on our TV’s in a number of capacities. Edye Ellis co-anchored WBIR’s nightly news, a World's Fair show, and HGTV programming.

Ellis came to Knoxville in 1982, and worked her career up from the ground, starting in Cincinnati.

“I knew nothing about television,” she said, “except I knew how to turn it on and turn it off.

When she came to East Tennessee, she had been hired to help start what was a new concept in local television.

"It was going to be a breath of fresh air for Cincinnati,” Ellis said, “it was called PM magazine."

Since the concept of an afternoon show that combined entertainment and news was such a new idea, she had no experience in it. In fact, it would either sink, or swim.

"No, no, I’m not ready,” Ellis said, but then remembered hearing, “kid, the way you're going, to get ready is get in there and do it."

She honed her skills, but admittingly got burned out, which was when she got a call from WBIR asking if she would be interested in hosting another new show which would be centered on the 1982 World's Fair. The show would be called "Welcome World" and ended up featuring some recognizable people still in Knoxville.

"Gene Patterson and I hosted the show, with Rob and of course you (Alan) were one of the roving reporters," she said. “Our job was to find interesting things that fans liked and package them into stories.”

For six sweaty months the show was a success. When that stint was over, she began to get offers from other television stations, but decided to settle at WBIR in the capacity of co-anchor with Bill Williams.

"They were tall, kind of blonde guys,” she said. “We called them the Williams boys, because we thought they were father, son, and grandson."

Her presence helped created a formidable news team and as years went by; Ellis transferred her energies to a job with the University of Tennessee's public relations department, which gave her more time to focus on some health issues regarding her family.

The TV bug bit her again in the 1990’s and she began hosting a number of shows on HGTV which were shot in Knoxville and Nashville. The shows allowed viewers to still see Ellis regularly if they had cable or satellite television.

On Tuesday, we will continue with the second part of out interview with Edye Ellis where she tells us what she’s doing now, and what is in store for the future. You can watch it on Volunteer TV News at 11:00 or read the story on VolunteerTV.com following the newscast.

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