Fox29's Sheinelle Jones says goodbye

Sheinelle Jones gets a hug from "Good Day Philadelphia" co-host Mike Jerrick, whom she credits with helping her decide to move on.
Sheinelle Jones gets a hug from "Good Day Philadelphia" co-host Mike Jerrick, whom she credits with helping her decide to move on.
Posted: March 28, 2014

 S HEINELLE JONES just wants to brush her daughter's hair in the morning.

She wants to watch movies with her husband past 7 p.m. on a Sunday.

She wants to go swimming with her kids and not worry about what her hair will look like on Monday.

"If it Afros out, it's OK," Jones said.

These may sound like normal, everyday things, but for a woman who has never been able to take her 4-year-old to school in the morning, it means something special. That's why, after nine years, Jones will leave her post at Fox 29 tomorrow.

"I'm at the age, if I'm going to do something, I need to close my eyes and do it," Jones told me. "People keep saying [leaving is] a bold move. But ["Good Day Philadelphia" co-host] Mike [ Jerrick] has taught me to never look back and to never feel like I haven't challenged myself. That has haunted me. There are so many things I want to do with my career. People want to know what I'm going to do, but that's why I'm going to take a break and figure that out."

Jones is making the choice to spend more time with son Kayin and 19-month-old twins Clara Josephine and Uche Ade Christian. Her husband, Uche Ojeh, is the managing partner of his own company, UAO Consulting, a strategy and technology consulting firm.

Of course, the show will go on, and Jerrick will sit down with such guest hosts as Wendy Williams; Marc Summers; Adrienne Bailon, of "The Real"; Deborah Norville, of "Inside Edition"; and WMMR's Kathy Romano.

But there's no denying it won't be the same.

Jones was born in Philadelphia in the same hospital where her children were born. She spent summers here with her dad, but lived mostly with her mom in Wichita. In her Kansas bedroom, she would gaze at pictures of Wichita-area newscasters tacked to her wall, dreaming of being one.

Jones returned to Philadelphia in 2005 as a general-assignment reporter for Fox 29 before becoming a "Good Day Philadelphia" anchor.

"She can go out and do breaking news like no other and then turn around and be the champ on the Halloween show and turn into Beyonce," said Maryann Vaughn, executive producer of "Good Day Philadelphia."

But Jones' star really brightened alongside Jerrick, who returned to "Good Day" in 2009 after hosting the syndicated "The Morning Show with Mike and Juliet."

"Sheinelle has been one of the best experiences of my TV life," Jerrick said. "This is the saddest I've ever been when it comes to a TV breakup."

He's right, it is a breakup. Jerrick equated a co-host to marriage - it takes hard work. But in Jerrick and Jones' case, it paid off.

Jerrick told me that he discussed Jones' decision with her at length.

"She showed up at my apartment and we got into her car," Jerrick said. "I needed a haircut so she drove me to the hair salon. We parked in front. Two hours later we're still talking about this decision, crying and laughing. I never got that haircut."

Ultimately he encouraged her to leave.

Although Jones is leaving to spend more time with her family, she also feels as if she's leaving behind a family she's never met - her viewers.

In a way, the "Good Day" audience has grown up with Jones, starting with her Sexy Singles days (Class of '06).

"The viewers have been with me through all of this, through the time my boyfriend proposed, to the wedding, to 'Hey, I'm pregnant,' to 'Hey, I'm pregnant with twins,' " Jones said.

They've also been with her through her on-screen highlights: interviewing then-Sen. Hillary Clinton, or going viral after she and Jerrick couldn't contain their giggles while interviewing vapid-to-the-core Olympian-turned-reality star Ryan Lochte .

"When she laughs, it's real," Jerrick said. "When she laughs too hard, her eyelashes come off."

Jones said she will miss those unplanned moments the most, like when she wore a striped dress and Jerrick made her lie on the floor and drove a toy car over her ensemble.

But this isn't the end for Jones. She has no plans for retirement, just plans for a break.

"I'm tapped," Jones said. "I want to refill my cup and give in another capacity.

" 'Good Day' was beyond my wildest dreams. So what else can I do?"


On Twitter: @PhillyGossipDN

Online: ph.ly/DNGossip

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