Diann Burns, the former Chicago news anchor once thought to be the highest paid personality on local television, is making a comeback after two years in exile: Starting April 11, she'll become host of a Sunday morning talk show produced by the Chicago Urban League.
On her website Tuesday, Burns announced that she's fronting "Next TV," a half-hour talk show focusing on up-and-coming entrepreneurs and economic empowerment. It airs at 8 a.m. Sundays on Fox-owned WFLD-Channel 32 (and reruns at 12:30 p.m. Sundays on Fox-owned WPWR-Channel 50). Cheryle Jackson, former CEO of the Chicago Urban League who stepped down to make an unsuccessful run for the U.S. Senate, hosted the show in its first season.
Burns, 53, has been out of the media spotlight since she was dropped by WBBM-Channel 2 two years ago this week -- on March 31, 2008 -- after failing to boost the CBS-owned station's ratings or justify her record-breaking $2 million-a-year salary. Burns had spent 18 years at top-rated ABC-owned WLS-Channel 7 before her five-year debacle at Channel 2.
In preparation for her comeback, Burns launched a website celebrating her fantastically inflated ego. It has to be seen to be believed. (Here is the link.)
Here's how Burns broke the news on her blog:
"I've got NEXT. I love television, and I love to work. I have balance in my life‚ and I am working hard, trying to make it simple. I am thrilled to partner with the Chicago Urban League and with the amazing, star-studded team at 'NEXT TV: Change You Can See.' . . . I am so grateful to be in a position to continue giving back to the‚ people of the city of Chicago, who have always been there, offering‚ encouragement and support. Today, I personify the advice I've given to the thousands of young people I've talked to over the years. And that is, you never know the 'greater you,' if you‚ avoid taking a risk out of fear of failure. You can succeed if your heart is in the right place, and you love what you do. My headline is consistent: Life is short, you've gotta work it."