If you live in the Reno area, turn on the early morning news and see DAYS’s Rex Brady, your eyes are not deceiving you. Kyle Lowder, who began acting professionally in 2000, is now in the throes of a new career as a newscaster, and he’s super-passionate about it.
The pivot was prompted by a big change in his personal life. “Three years ago during the pandemic, Ari [Zucker, Nicole, DAYS, his ex-wife] and Shawn [Christian, ex-Daniel, her fiancé] decided to get a beautiful lakeside home in Lake Tahoe on the California side,” Lowder begins. “Over the past three years of Izzy [his daughter with Zucker] going and snowboarding in the wintertime and waterskiing in the summertime, and just the lifestyle up there, she was so happy. So in January of this year, Izzy went back to school in Los Angeles and she came to us and said, and I’m paraphrasing, but it was something like, ‘What would it look like if I lived in Lake Tahoe full time?’ And to Izzy’s credit, she had given this a lot of thought. She’s a very mature kid and she had a very well-researched conversation about this. She had written her own personal pros and cons. It wasn’t a whim or a spur of the moment, spontaneous thing at all. And Ari and I looked at each other and said, ‘We can see how happy you are up there,’ and she said something to the effect of, ‘My soul is very happy up there.’ ”
Once Lowder and Zucker were on board, he was faced with the prospect of his daughter moving away, and realized he had a big decision to make about his own future. “Immediately the wheels started to turn in my head about, ‘Okay, she’s got five years left before she graduates high school and then becomes an adult and decides what she wants to do. I don’t want to spend those five years driving up or flying in as much as I can and being a visitor in her life,’ ” he recalls.
Especially since he had already spent time apart from her. “When she was a baby, I lived in Las Vegas doing the show [Rock of Ages] and then I moved to New York for a year for career reasons, and those are probably two of the most painful personal years of my life as a father just because I wasn’t around and we weren’t together as much,” he explains. “I think that I’m just a little scarred and maybe even a little triggered by that, and that’s not okay with me as a dad. So I realized the endgame was for me to get up there.”
But with limited entertainment opportunities in the Lake Tahoe area, Lowder had to think outside the box. “I thought, ‘Well, there’s a television industry in Reno; there’s the network affiliates, CBS, NBC, Fox and ABC, so let me just reach out and see,’ ” he relays. “I had my resumé and I wrote a cover letter and I was very honest and transparent and very vulnerable, respectfully asking if they had any on-camera opportunities available. I finished the letter by saying that I recognized that I do not have any broadcast journalism or newscaster experience; however, I’ve spent the past 23 years of my career telling stories to an audience, whether scripted or improvised, and I’m very comfortable in front of the camera. I said, ‘I make no presumptions. I know what this looks like, a Hollywood actor that thinks he could just come in and be a newscaster.’ ”
As it turns out, his timing was perfect. Not only did Lowder get a response from the CBS and ABC affiliates, both had open positions. “Within a week I had two meetings and camera tests set up for the following week,” he marvels. “So I drove up to Reno, got a hotel room for about four days, and I had a meeting at CBS and a meeting at ABC. I got home on a Saturday. Monday morning, I got a phone call from CBS with an offer. And then Tuesday, I got a phone call from ABC with an offer.”
Lowder allows that after his meetings, he felt pretty good about his prospects. “I knew that if I could just get to a camera test, that I could show my comfort level, my abilities and the skill set that I have in front of the camera,” he notes. “I knew that I had confidence in the technical aspects of being an anchor. I knew that if they could just give me an opportunity that I’d be able to learn that. And that’s exactly almost verbatim with what the news directors at both CBS and ABC said to me without me opening my mouth. They said, ‘We watched your tape, and it’s very clear that you have a comfort level, that you have a charisma. We’ve hired newscasters fresh out of journalism school that know the technical aspects and the terminology and the jargon, but their comfort level in front of the camera takes a year, if not years, to develop.’ I was just hoping to maybe get a little side correspondence gig, and now I had two offers and a decision to make.”
Lowder ultimately chose CBS’s KTVN. “Both jobs were very desirable; it was a very difficult decision,” he says. “I literally was back and forth all week. So mid-May, I had no idea what I was gonna do; by the end of May, I had a signed contract with CBS to be the new morning news anchor.”
As with any new job, Lowder didn’t know what to expect, but his co-workers made him feel like one of the team from the start. “I was very self-aware of the fact that [people could think], ‘Here’s an actor from Los Angeles who’s never done this before, coming into our world,’ ” he points out. “I wanted to come in and get out ahead of it and really make it a point to go introduce myself to people and say, ‘Hey, thank you for your patience. I’m here as a sponge, I’m here to learn, to ask questions. I’m in your world now.’ And I meant every word of it. I wanted to make sure that people understood that I was very grateful to be there. People were extremely welcoming, My co-anchor Andi [Cassinari] has been so unbelievably helpful from the get-go, teaching me the tricks of the trade, helping me along the way. The news director, Jason Pasco, has been unbelievably supportive of me.”
And Lowder couldn’t be more excited about his employment pivot. “At 43, I have a brand-new career in an industry that I’ve always respected; I’ve been a news watcher my entire life,” he enthuses. “Even as a kid growing up, my parents always had it on. I always had such respect for news anchors and broadcast news and here I am in the thick of it. And on top of that, my wish came true that I could be in my daughter’s life on a daily basis. And, oh, by the way, I have a really cool job that I’m so grateful for and this new career trajectory that I didn’t think in a million years that I would have. So I’ve definitely had some time to sit back and reflect and just really feel the gratitude of this situation.”
One that he’s in for the long haul. “I have a multiyear deal, which is a multiyear commitment that I’m making to the network and the network is making to me in a brand-new industry that I’ve become so passionate about. I’m really enjoying every aspect of this. I’m a very intense Virgo, and I really like structure and that’s exactly what I need to have for this to stay sharp.”
As for what it means for his acting prospects, Lowder notes, “The soap opera genre is the first job I ever had. I love that industry. My gut answer is, if DAYS OF OUR LIVES called, or any show for that matter, obviously, I’m on contract, so I couldn’t sign another contract. But if I got a phone call to see if I could pop in for an episode or two, schedule permitting, I would love to do that.”
On The Clock
Though he is used to early call times for acting gigs, Lowder’s schedule looks very different now. “My alarm clock goes off at 2 o’clock in the morning,” he shares. “I shower, shave and I’m at the studio by 3 a.m. Then it’s hair, makeup, another cup of coffee and I start looking through the rundowns and the scripts and the leading stories of the day, talking with the producers about what stories we have. I do all of that from 3 until 4:20, then jacket on, tie on, earpiece in, microphone on, and then at 4:30 a.m., we are live. We are on air from 4:30 a.m. to 7 a.m., so it’s two-and-a-half hours of live broadcasts. When we go off the air at 7, the national show comes on for us, which is CBS MORNINGS with Gayle King, and then every half hour between 7 and 9 on the national show, they cut to the affiliates to do the news updates and weather for five minutes. And then I’m done and I come home and have some breakfast, and do a little meditation or whatever, just to kind of slow my heart rate down and everything because it’s very intense. You’re kind of on your toes for two-and-a-half hours. So I just really take it easy for a few hours and then have a little lunch and then I answer emails from work. I’m constantly looking at the AP wire to see what stories are going on locally, nationally, internationally, taking notes to see what kind of stories I think would be great for the broadcast. I then will go down to pick Izzy up from school, be in her life, and then I go to the gym because I have to keep myself in shape. And then the countdown begins. I’m done with the gym at 5, and then I have to eat and maybe make a little nightcap and either read a book or watch something mindless on television so I can start to wind down. And then it’s lights out at 8 p.m. at the absolute latest because the alarm goes off at 2 a.m. the next morning.”
Just The Fact
Birthday: August 27
Origin Story: Born in St. Louis, MO, raised in Pleasantville, NY.
Sugar And Spice: Daughter Isabella was born on December 7, 2009.
Otherwise Known As: Brady, DAYS, 2000-05; Rick, B&B, 2007-11; Rex, DAYS, 2018-present
All The News: Catch a live feed of Lowder’s new anchor work at 2news.com.
Out And About: Lowder says he’s been recognized locally. “Reno is definitely a soap opera town. They love the soap operas here. I’ve been stopped numerous times, the typical place is at the grocery store.”
Getting Social: Follow him on Instagram at @kylelowder22.