Bill & Walter getting back together -- for one night only

November 12, 2009

Walter Jacobson and Bill Kurtis at a Museum of Broadcast Communications event in 1994.
Walter Jacobson and Bill Kurtis at a Museum of Broadcast Communications event in 1994.
 

This just in: For the first time in 20 years, Bill Kurtis and Walter Jacobson will anchor the 10 o'clock news together on WBBM-Channel 2, sources said.

The CBS-owned station is expected to announce today that the legendary duo will be back behind the anchor desk for one night only -- this Friday. Rob Johnson, who normally anchors the 10 p.m. newscast solo, will have the night off.

The inspired stunt was conceived by Channel 2 news director Jeff Kiernan, who grew up in Munster, Ind. and spent his formative years watching Chicago television in the heyday of Kurtis and Jacobson.

First teamed up in 1973, the duo revolutionized local news by broadcasting right out of the newsroom and emphasizing enterprise reporting. (Their marketing slogan: "It's not pretty, but it's real.") Except for a three-year detour when Kurtis anchored "The CBS Morning News" in New York, their 10 p.m. partnership remained intact until 1989, when Jacobson was replaced by Linda MacLennan.

Earlier this year, Kurtis, 69, rejoined Channel 2 as a special contributor when the station picked up reruns of his former A&E "Cold Case Files" series in syndication. Jacobson, 72, who jumped to Fox-owned WFLD-Channel 32 in 1993, retired in 2006. Nielsen ratings for October show Channel 2's 10 p.m. weekday newscast tied for second place with NBC-owned WMAQ-Channel 5.

UPDATE: This photo shows Kurtis and Jacobson shooting a promo with Rob Johnson:

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