A television anchor whose candid interviews with former Fresno State stars Derek Carr and Davante Adams went viral is leaving the Fresno market.
Brianna Mellon, who primarily served as a weekend sports anchor/sports reporter at ABC30, will close out her three-year stint in Fresno with a final appearance Sunday.
Mellon, a Southern California native and alum of UC Santa Barbara, is in the process of working on her next career move.
But she said said she’s thankful for her time covering Fresno-area sports, which included scoring key interviews with Carr and Adams about the possibility of reuniting as teammates with the Las Vegas Raiders.
“There’s just been so many opportunities here that I didn’t realize I’d ever have,” Mellon said. “Derek Carr, Paul George, Aaron Judge, Davante Adams and the so many others from the past.
“There are just so many massive names in sports who are tied to Fresno and Fresno State, and I’m really proud that I got to interview so many of them.”
During the summer of 2021, Mellon interviewed Carr and put the Raiders quarterback on the spot to find out if he would try to persuade Adams to join him in Las Vegas for the 2022 season.
To which Carr freely responded: “When that time comes, there will be a full-court press.”
The interview would become viral in the national sports sphere. So would Mellon’s interview with Adams a couple of weeks later when the receiver bluntly said: “Obviously, it would be a dream to play with (Derek). But I’m a (Green Bay) Packer now. So until that point ... I guess we just got to see what happens.”
Sure enough, Carr and Adams would reunite this past March.
Mellon said she received personal enjoyment when ESPN’s NFL reporter Adam Schefter quote-tweeted one of her video interviews to his near 10 million Twitter followers.
“It was a whole whirlwind story,” Mellon said. “It was like a year in the making. They put it out there into the universe. Davante’s season ends with the Packers. Then he’s traded to the Raiders.
“When I saw the trade, all I could say was ‘Oh my God! It’s happening!’ ”
Mellon would interview and produce stories about many other athletes and teams around the central San Joaquin Valley.
Part of it was done while covering a unique time of sports as the COVID-19 pandemic began and temporarily shut down many athletic events, included the 2020 college and high school spring seasons.
“Because there were restrictions about going to work, we worked remotely for a while,” Mellon recalled. “We really had to get creative, broadcasting from our homes. Then the other issue was: What are you supposed to cover and talk about during sports when sports aren’t happening?
“We decided to do stories of student-athletes around the Valley who were missing out on their senior year.”
Along with primary sports anchor Stephen Hicks, Mellon also helped start up a new Fresno State athletics-oriented weekly show for ABC30 called “Bulldog Breakdown.”
Having met numerous enthusiastic fans and observed pro athletes dedicated to give back to Fresno, Mellon eventually became convinced that Southern Californians who spoke negatively about the Central Valley actually had it wrong and “were missing out.”
“Growing up in Southern California, you hear how Fresno has a bad rap and there’s not much to do tourist-wise,” Mellon said. “But I’ve been really happy here. And you have these transcendent stars who want to come back and be associated with Fresno State and that’s really special.”
Mellon said hiking at Yosemite, running with the local run community “Fleet Feet,” and meeting passionate of Fresno fans, along with her friendships at the ABC affiliate, are among the things she’ll miss most.
“Seeing that Red Wave drive down south and cheer Fresno State against UCLA, it still gives me chills,” Mellon said. “They took over the Rose Bowl.”
Mellon is believed to be the first female sports reporter at ABC30.
Mellon showcased her own sporty side while in Fresno, too, running in her first marathon in November 2021.
And she did the 26.2-mile run despite receiving little sleep the night before while covering Fresno State’s sellout, night football game against Boise State.
Mellon also worked the night shift after that morning marathon.
“It was the start of the pandemic; we couldn’t go anywhere, no gym,” Mellon said. “I started running more, like 5 miles a day. Then I told myself I should just train for a marathon.
“It was way harder as you up the miles. But a year later, I did it. I was hobbling at work. But I finished in 3 hours, 51 minutes, and reached my goal to cross under 4 hours.”
While some have asked Mellon why would she leave ABC30 without another job locked up, Mellon says she has a strong desire to move back home. There, she plans to pursue other sports-related opportunities, whether it be in front or behind the camera.
“It definitely doesn’t come without anxiety,” Mellon said. “But I’m excited. Working in Fresno has prepared me for the future. I know something will work out.”