Disgraced former KTVU anchorman Frank Somerville just gave his first full, on-camera interview since the events of 2021 that both tanked his news career and put him in serious legal hot water.
Somerville, who is one of the most recognizable faces in Bay Area TV news, helmed the highest rated local news broadcast, KTVU's 10 O'Clock News, until a weird on-camera incident on Memorial Day Weekend 2021 began a series of troubles, ultimately leading to him losing his longtime job.
Since being seen and heard slurring words and looking dazed on camera during a Sunday night broadcast two years ago, Somerville has repeatedly said that he was not drunk on air, but that he had mistakenly taken two Ambien pills, having mistaken for another medication.
But that explanation seems kind of moot after, a little over six months later, he was involved in a DUI crash in downtown Oakland in which he had a blood alcohol level of 0.24%.
"I got trashed," Somerville now tells KRON4's Pam Moore. "I mean there’s no other way to say it. I got trashed in my apartment, and I wanted to go to Taco Bell, which is two and a half blocks away from where I live. I made the idiotic decision to drive. I had absolutely no business at all to drive — at all."
In a KRON4 exclusive, beloved Bay Area news anchor Frank Somerville spoke to KRON4's Pam Moore about his DUI arrest, suspension, and struggles with addiction. WATCH:https://t.co/1uTcpxjovN— KRON4 News (@kron4news) March 29, 2023
Somerville, driving a Porsche, rear-ended a car at a stoplight, and then proceeded to ram and push an Audi into a streetlamp pole across the intersection, at relatively slow speed. He now says that he has "absolutely no recollection of the accident."
It's not clear what Somerville hopes to get out of this on-camera appearance — Moore and a camera crew follow him to his gym, show that he's trying to be healthy. He says he's quit drinking, mostly... "The only times I’ve had a drink in the last six to eight months would be when I went to a Sharks game," he says.
Moore presses him a bit, saying, "You know most experts say if you’re addicted, you should not ever drink any."
Somerville replies, "Yeah, I’m not prepared to say I never will. It’s still a work in progress."
He says he was especially sad and lonely that Christmas season in 2021, separated from his spouse and daughters, and he was just trying to "escape." At that point, he was completely off the air at KTVU after an alleged clash with management over a story and comments he made on air. Somerville wanted to highlight the phenomenon of "missing white woman syndrome," and the national media's breathless coverage of the Gabby Petito disappearance, something he was told not to do on air.
"I thought the coverage across the country of Gabby Petito was insane," Somerville tells KRON4. "There was no reason for it other than she was a cute white kid. But for some reason, I was suspended over that. I still, to this day, am not sure why."
If nothing else, Somerville seems to want to show people that he can get in front of a camera again, and he wants for his career not to be over.
He says he'd like a job in the news again, either here in the Bay Area or somewhere else. "I mean that’s what I love, I love what I do. I love anchoring," Somerville says.
Perhaps he hoped that KRON4 might be hiring.