It’s the end of an era at the Fox affiliate.
But the divorced father of two, 62, says he felt it was time for a life change.
“I’m at that point when I need a change in my life,” Hayward told Gossip Extra. “The timing is right.”
Known for his English accent and flamboyant Fleet Street-style delivery, Hayward says he’ll miss the biz, and his buds at the station.
Hayward was hired soon after WSVN lost its affiliation with NBC, and at a time when it was changing to a if-it-bleeds-it-leads news format. He eventually became the newsroom’s highest paid reporter.
“I leave with absolutely nothing but the highest regard for WSVN,” he said. “They’ve treated me wonderfully in the course of the past two decades.”
He declined to comment further but added that WSVN management knew for several weeks he was pondering his future.
While sources in TV land told me Hayward reached out to other stations after difficult contract negotiations at Channel 7, he told friends it’s unlikely he’ll remain on the tube.
Hayward, who lives in Margate, told Gossip Extra sources he’s working on a novel about the local television market. He also wants to spend more time working for his pet charity.
Hayward’s a volunteer trainer at Tomorrow’s Rainbow, a Coconut Creek non-profit that uses interaction with horses to help children cope with the loss of a parent.
WSVN, whose publicist had no comment about losing one of the station’s most recognizable faces, used Hayward on dozens of national stories.
He covered the Michael Jackson pedophilia trial and L.A. riots, countless hurricanes, strife in Haiti and the O.J. Simpson murder trial.
His documentary about lenient sentencing in Florida in the 1990s, Justice: Just Bluffing, is on permanent display at the Museum of Television & Radio in New York City.
Check out the video of Hayward’s coverage of Hurricane Andrew in 1992, in which he compares Homestead to “Downtown Beirut:”