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Let's review: Fox Chicago assembling weekly roundtable

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Move over, Joel Weisman: After 32 years as a Friday night fixture on public television WTTW-Channel 11, “Chicago Week in Review” is about to get a little competition.

Chicago Tonight: The Week in Review

Plans are in the works for Fox-owned WFLD-Channel 32 to launch a 30-minute weekly roundup of top stories in the news, featuring a panel of reporters, columnists and fellow journalists assembled from various media outlets around town. Sound familiar?

Nothing is official, but insiders said the new show will air from 9:30 to 10 p.m. Fridays -- in place of the second half-hour of the Fox station’s 9 p.m. newscast. If all goes as planned, it could debut within the next few weeks.

Host of the show is expected to be Bob Sirott, the veteran Chicago broadcaster who joined Channel 32 in July as 9 p.m. news anchor alongside Robin Robinson. Since then, Sirott has been heavily involved in revamping the format of the newscast, including introducing elements he honed during his three years as host of Channel 11’s flagship news program “Chicago Tonight.”

It seems unlikely the Fox week-in-review show would be able to draw participants from competing commercial television stations -- an advantage for Channel 11, which is owned by nonprofit Window to the World Communications. But that still leaves plenty of panelists available from all other broadcast, print and online media. Sirott no doubt also will be free to tap his own Channel 32 colleagues from time to time.

Weisman, razor sharp at 68, shows no sign of losing any of his enthusiasm for the weekly roundtable he’s hosted since its second week on the air in 1978. Retitled “Chicago Tonight: The Week in Review” in 2000 (when it was folded into the “Chicago Tonight” franchise), the show still draws consistently respectable ratings at 7 p.m. Fridays. As moderator of the longest running public affairs series in Chicago, Weisman once described his role as “part traffic cop, part provocateur, part historian and, most of all, an editor who challenges what reporters say, and asks the next question.”

Honorable mention to two noteworthy radio programs featuring a roundup of reporters who focus on the week’s political news:

  • “Best Game in Town,” hosted by Steve Edwards, airing at 3:30 and 5:30 p.m. Fridays on Chicago Public Media WBEZ-FM (91.5). It’s also posted as a podcast Friday afternoons on the WBEZ Blog -- part of the fine family of Chicago Public Media’s Here is the audio link: audio link.
  • “Connected to Chicago,” hosted by Bill Cameron, airing at 2 p.m. Sundays on Citadel Broadcasting news/talk WLS-AM (890). It’s also posted on the station’s website. Here is the audio link: audio link.
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