Nov. 19, 2009
Nov. 19, 2009
When Pat Cassidy abruptly quit as morning news anchor at WBBM-AM (780) last year, bosses of the CBS-owned all-news station reached out to John Hultman, who'd retired from the job a decade earlier.
The idea was for Hultman to fill in on a free-lance basis -- through the end of the year at the most -- until a permanent replacement for Cassidy could be hired. That was 16 months ago. Hultman, 72, is still there every morning, sounding just as great as he did during his original 30-year run at "Newsradio 780." Along with anchor partner Felicia Middlebrooks, he has kept the station's morning drive ratings at or near the top. (The latest Arbitron figures show them solidly in third place among all listeners as well as among those between the ages of 25 and 54.)
Although Hultman's bosses admit they wish he'd stay on forever, they're reluctantly bowing to his request to step down. Sources said they've narrowed the list of top candidates to three -- including one unnamed insider -- and hope to have a successor in place by early next year.
Nov. 18, 2009
Photo by Maria Ponce
One way or another, it seems, Anna Davlantes was destined to work for Carol Fowler. On Tuesday, it finally became reality when Chicago's most eligible -- and arguably most glamorous -- news anchor officially joined Fox-owned‚ WFLD-Channel 32.
"It's a great opportunity and a great challenge for me," Davlantes said in her first interview after signing the multiyear deal. "I'm real excited about it."
As first reported here, Davlantes will debut Monday as a contributing anchor and reporter on the station's 9 p.m. newscast, alongside Robin Robinson and Jeff Goldblatt. As vice president/news director of Channel 32, Fowler was instrumental in talking up Davlantes to her boss, Mike Renda, who arrived last September as vice president and general manager from Fox sister station WTXF-TV in Philadelphia.
This wasn't the first time Fowler had championed the Chicago native and pride of Lane Tech High School. It was close but no cigar early last year when Fowler was vice president/news director at CBS-owned WBBM-Channel 2 and courted Davlantes for a top anchor role. But negotiations with Joe Ahern, then-president and general manager of the station, abruptly broke off when Channel 2's budget collapsed and massive layoffs ensued.
Nov. 17, 2009
This just in: Anna Davlantes finally ended the biggest guessing game in Chicago media by joining Fox-owned WFLD-Channel 32.
Under terms of a multiyear deal signed today, Davlantes will work for Channel 32 as a contributing anchor and reporter. She is expected to debut Monday on the 9 p.m. weekday newscast alongside Robin Robinson and Jeff Goldblatt.
"We're thrilled to have Anna join Fox Chicago News,"‚ Mike Renda, vice president and general manager of Channel 32, said in a statement. "In addition to her award-winning reporting skills, she is one of the most talked-about personalities in the market, and we think she will be a perfect addition to our late news team."
Said Davlantes: "I'm thrilled to be a part of the talented Fox Chicago News team.
Nov. 17, 2009
The first thing you need to know about the new morning news show on WCIU-Channel 26 is that it's not really a show. The second thing is that it doesn't really have much news. But it is on in the morning -- and it's a devilishly clever work in progress.
"You & Me This Morning," now in its fourth week on the air, consists of locally produced informational segments ranging in length from 30 seconds to 15 minutes. The segments are sprinkled throughout the morning block of syndicated programming on "The U" (including "The Insider," "Everybody Hates Chris" and two episodes of "Half & Half") between 6 and 9 a.m. Monday through Friday.
Nov. 16, 2009
Nov. 16, 2009
Ladies and gentlemen, the winner and still champion is . . . Ron Magers.
Despite all the excitement and publicity surrounding the return of Bill Kurtis, 69, and Walter Jacobson, 72, to the anchor desk for the first time in 20 years at WBBM-Channel 2, the best the CBS-owned station could do Friday night was finish a close second in the ratings at 10 p.m. to ABC-owned WLS-Channel 7.
To their credit, Bill & Walter never made any sweeping claims of toppling the market leader. In an interview Friday afternoon with Roe Conn, Kurtis even tipped his hat to Magers and Channel 7, calling them "the Mount Everest of TV news." Everest still stands.
Nov. 13, 2009
Tonight's reunion of legendary news anchors Bill Kurtis and Walter Jacobson at 10 p.m. could well deliver the biggest audience ratings WBBM-Channel 2 has seen in years.
In fact, a large enough Nielsen number would move the CBS-owned station ahead of NBC-owned WMAQ-Channel 5 among viewers between the ages of 25 and 54, the demographic most prized by advertisers. (Both stations trail ABC-owned WLS-Channel 7.)‚ But even if that happens, Bruno Cohen, president and general manager of Channel 2, insists there's no future role in mind for Bill & Walter. "It's one night only," he said. "That's all there is to it."