5 major changes to know at Arizona's Family TV stations, channels 3 and 5 in metro Phoenix

Kris Pickel’s exit from Arizona’s Family TV news is just one of several high-profile departures from the stations in recent months.

Pickel announced Tuesday that she had been let go from the stations — Channels 3 and 5 in Phoenix, both owned by Atlanta-based Gray Television. “This is a brutal part of the business,” Pickel said, “but it’s part of the business.”

It’s been a surprisingly large part of the business at Arizona’s Family lately. Popular anchor Brandon Lee, who joined Arizona’s Family stations in 2013, left TV journalism in 2018 after writing a memoir. He returned to Arizona’s Family in 2019.

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Brandon Lee

He left again in 2021, announcing on social media in November that “I am taking a giant leap of faith and will now focus all of my time and energy helping survivors of trauma heal through art therapy. I’ve created a program, Art Of Our Soul, that will help recovering addicts, sex trafficking victims, survivors of domestic violence & child abuse heal.”

Lee was open in his memoir about his own addiction and abuse.

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Kim Quintero

Kim Quintero, a meteorologist and reporter for Arizona’s Family since 2012, left in November to become the director of communications for the Arizona Senate Majority Caucus.

“As we've progressed into 2020-2021, I came to realize I'm not happy with the direction our society and country are headed in,” Quintero said in an interview then, “and I want to get more involved to help make a difference.”

Spencer Blake

In December Spencer Blake, a reporter who joined the stations in 2018, left to go to work as a public information officer for the city of Phoenix.

“I need an opportunity that just works better with family life,” Blake told The Arizona Republic at the time. “I have loved TV news. It’s been a lot of fun.”

Maria Hechanova

And in February Maria Hechanova left Arizona’s Family, where she had worked since 2017.

“I gotta be at home right now,” Hechanova said in an interview in February. “I have a little girl who’s turning 1 year old next month. This job is extremely demanding. I love it, but I had to take a moment to realize that I need to be at home for myself and I need to be at home for my family. It’s as simple as that.”

Reach Goodykoontz at bill.goodykoontz@arizonarepublic.com. Facebook: facebook.com/GoodyOnFilm. Twitter: @goodyk. Subscribe to the weekly movies newsletter.

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This article originally appeared on Arizona Republic: 5 big changes at Arizona's Family from Brandon Lee to Kris Pickel