Local 4 Special Tonight at 8 p.m.

A look back at Carmen's 38-year career in Detroit broadcasting

Detroit broadcasting legend Carmen Harlan has been in our living rooms for almost 40 years. Now, in this hour-long special, hosts Devin Scillian and Bernie Smilovitz look at her early years, her relationship with former co-anchor Mort Crim, and showcase the best highlights of Carmen’s decades on Detroit television. Carmen, herself, also co-hosts.

In addition, Smilovitz shares his candid conversation with Carmen at her favorite spot in the city and also reveals their best bloopers together, including their most infamous moment on the anchor desk.

Longtime colleague Chuck Gaidica reminisces about the big events he and Carmen have covered together throughout the years, and Ben Bailey gives viewers a rare, behind-the-scenes glimpse of Carmen at work. Plus, there will be flashbacks and well wishes from all over the world.

A native Detroiter, Carmen began her broadcasting career in Detroit radio before joining WDIV-Local 4 in 1978 as a general assignment reporter. Not long after, she was promoted to news anchor with legendary newsman Mort Crim. For more than 20 years, Carmen has been partnered with anchor Devin Scillian for the station’s early evening and late news programs, making them Detroit’s longest running anchor team.

When Carmen started at WDIV, it was a last place newscast, and she has dedicated her entire career to helping Local 4 become one of the most respected and top-rated affiliates in the country.  

A lifelong champion of Detroit, Carmen has hosted many of this region’s big events like “America’s Thanksgiving Parade,” “The Ford Fireworks,” and the NAIAS “Charity Preview.” She always had a major role in station campaigns like Walk on the Wild Side, Choice of the Century, Detroit 300, Time to Care, Home 4 the Holidays, and two Olympic torch relays.

Throughout her career, Carmen has not only anchored the news but also traveled the world reporting on some of the most notable stories of the day.  She covered the historic Michigan visit by Pope John Paul II in 1987, the legendary Detroit arrival of South African President Nelson Mandela in 1990, President Barack Obama’s inaugurations in 2009 and 2013 and, most memorably, the 2010 Haitian earthquake relief effort. She has also interviewed countless dignitaries, world, business, and religious leaders, as well as entertainers.

Carmen will take on an ambassador role with the station which will allow for promotional and special event projects.  She plans on spending more time with her family.  “As a grandmother of three boys, ages 7, 4 and 2, it’s important for me to be able to spend quality time with them while they are young,” she said.

In addition to her career endeavors, Carmen has devoted much of her time to various charitable organizations including: Operation Able, the Michigan Humane Society, the Children’s Center, Sparky Anderson’s CATCH, the Mosaic Youth Theatre of Detroit and Alternative For Girls, just to mention a few.

Carmen will anchor her final newscast on November 11, but will return to host “America’s Thanksgiving Parade” later in the month.