Shawn Yancy is Channel 5's new co-anchor on the 5 and 10 p.m. newscasts. Yesterday's announcement ends a nationwide search by the Fox-owned station to replace Tracey Neale, who bolted the station in March to join Channel 9.

Yancy has been co-anchoring WTTG's early morning newscast since September 2001, but since Neale's departure she has teamed frequently with Brian Bolter on the early evening and late night news.

News Director Katherine Green once again opted to hire from within to fill a high-profile position. In the summer of 2002, Bolter, who had been a reporter and fill-in anchor, was hired to replace co-anchor Mike Landess.

"I believe that if you have the right person working for you, there's no reason to go outside," Green said in an interview. The station reviewed about 300 tapes and auditioned about a dozen candidates, she said.

Laura Evans, a reporter and weekend anchor, was the other top internal candidate for the position.

Gurvir Dhindsa, the former Channel 9 anchor who was let go by the station in July to make room for Neale, debuted on Channel 5 yesterday as a temporary early morning anchor in place of Yancy. Green would not say if Dhindsa would get the job full-time but said it was a "possibility."

Dhindsa also will co-anchor with Karen Meyers WTTG's hour-long Sunday morning newscast, debuting Aug. 22 at 8 a.m.

Meanwhile, the housecleaning continues at Channel 9. In the past few weeks WUSA has seen the departure of news director Dave Roberts, the announcement that veteran sportscaster Frank Herzog was being let go and speculation that more changes are on the way.

General Manager Darryll Green informed morning weathercaster Hillary Howard late last week that the station would not renew her contract in mid-October, according to Howard.

Howard, who has been with the station for four years, said she plans to honor her contract until mid-October. "I don't harbor any grudges," she said yesterday. "It's the business."

She added that she is "definitely looking for work" but may pursue a freelance career in teleconferences and narrations. "I'd like to use my talents in a fun and lucrative way," she said.

Yancy has been co-anchoring WTTG's early morning newscast.