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NBC5 names KOCO vet Rick Mitchell as new early morning meteorologist (updated Mon., 4:30 p.m.)

Veteran meteorologist Rick Mitchell, the lead weathercaster at Oklahoma City's KOCO-TV since 1994, has been tabbed by Fort Worth-based NBC5 as its new early morning forecaster.

Mitchell replaces Jennifer Lopez, whose contract wasn't renewed last March after a four-year stay with NBC5.

The 1987 University of Nebraska grad, with a bachelor of science degree in meteorology, will join the station on Aug. 22nd, but his official first day on the air hasn't yet been announced. Mitchell previously worked at WOI-TV in Des Moines. KOCO is an ABC affiliate.

"It's a surprisingly great hire," said a source familiar with Mitchell's work. "Rick is a really nice guy and a great team player. Plus, he knows his weather."

NBC5's Monday afternoon announcement of Mitchell's hiring had no information on the status of incumbent Samantha Davies, who had been filling in for Lopez on the station's early morning shift. But vice president of programming Brian Hocker said in a subsequent email reply that Davies "will remain on the AMs and we have to figure out duties/shifts because of the 11 a.m. newscast and how that plays into it."

Before subbing for Lopez, Davies had been working the 4:30 to 5 a.m. "First Weather" segment while also filling in at other times throughout the day and night. She additionally does some segments on upcoming area events such as last week's "Taste of Dallas" at Fair Park.