CINCINNATI – A pair of co-anchors at a local television station say they are engaged to be married.
Sheree Paolello, who co-anchors four evening news broadcasts at WLWT News alongside Mike Dardis, gushed on Twitter that “the man I was looking for has been sitting next to me the whole time.”
Dardis proposed Dec. 28, a Friday, after asking Paolello out for an ostensible coffee run.
He chose a local landmark, the Roebling Suspension Bridge, because it’s Paolello’s favorite bridge. A painting of it hangs in her home.
“I know this is a unique situation for Cincinnati and all over for local news,” Dardis told The Enquirer. “But I think Cincinnati is this small-big city. … People love the local news team to be a part of your family, and I think it fits right with the Cincinnati mold.”
The couple said they shared immediate chemistry when Dardis joined the broadcast team in 2012.
“I think people can sense it when you genuinely like someone,” Paolello said.
During commercial breaks, they join in debates with other staff about issues that come up on air.
They use hand signals just before the cameras jump back to them to indicate whose turn it is to talk.
About five months before they began dating, during a segment, Paolello asked which song Dardis would select if they had to sing a duet.
He picked Taylor Swift’s “Blank Space.”
“It’s either going to last forever or go down in flames,” Dardis said then. “I say it’s going to last forever, as an anchor team, you and me.”
“OK, right answer,” Paolello said, laughing and fist-bumping her future fiancé.
Ironically, talk of a professional split as Dardis mulled leaving Cincinnati launched the pair’s relationship.
“I said to him, ‘I feel like I’ve taken you for granted.’ Because I was really upset about the possibility of him leaving,” Paolello said.
“When she showed that vulnerable side of her, I thought, wow,” Dardis said.
Dardis, of course, elected to stay. They started dating in November 2017, and by March, they informed WLWT management about their relationship.
Station General Manager Branden Frantz encouraged them from a personal standpoint. But professionally, he said, “You better not break up because if you do, that really messes with the chemistry,” Dardis recalled.
He and Paolello acknowledged the possibility, and Dardis even promised to be the one to leave if necessary.
“She’s from Cincinnati. I’ll leave,” he told management.
It never came to that, and now they’re looking forward to a late spring or early summer wedding.
“When this all started over a year ago, I was probably more nervous than Mike (about) public perception,” Paolello said. “When we decided to share this (engagement), I was nervous. But people have been wonderful to us.”
“Blown away by the positive reaction,” Dardis added.