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WCCO has announced a new co-anchor for its morning shows, filling the slot left by the departing Jason DeRusha.

The Twin Cities CBS affiliate announced Thursday morning that A.J. Hilton will be joining the WCCO Mornings and WCCO Mid-Mornings team. 

He will join co-anchor Heather Brown, meteorologist Riley O’Conner, and reporters Shayla Reaves and Pauleen Le on the team.

It comes just over a week after DeRusha announced he is stepping down from his role on June 23, transitioning to a reduced role in which he remains a special correspondent for the station.

Hilton's first day as co-anchor will be Monday, June 27.

A Minnesota native, Hilton is a graduate of Apple Valley High School and the University of Minnesota, and took up his first news job 17 years ago at KSAX in Alexandria, Minnesota.

He has since been a reporter and anchor in Lansing, Michigan and Tallahassee, Florida. He is joining WCCO from WZTV in Nashville, Tennessee.

In a statement on WCCO, news director Kari Patey said: "We are thrilled to welcome A.J. to WCCO and have him join our outstanding team of journalists. His positive energy is as infectious as is his passion for our community.

"WCCO and Minnesota gain from A.J.’s homecoming."

Hilton said: "It’s a great privilege to work where I grew up watching the news. Coming home to Minnesota is not only full circle for me, but my wife and I are excited to have our young son grow up around the things and places we love — from the state fair to the lakes, fall weather to sports.

"I can’t wait to be a part of a community that continues to evolve and the fabric that makes Minnesota special."

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