Another day, another Fox Chicago News personality fired.
Jeff Goldblatt, the former Fox News Channel correspondent, is on his way out after two years as main news anchor at Fox-owned WFLD-Channel 32. Word of his departure follows the recent dismissals of Lilia Chacon, Jack Conaty, Lauren Cohn, Byron Harlan, Nancy Loo and David Viggiano from the station.
Goldblatt was not available for comment, but insiders said he cleaned out his office several days ago, telling colleagues he was “just doing some interior decorating.” When pressed further, he told them he’d been notified that the option on his contract would not be picked up after mid-August. He could be gone before then.
It’s not clear whether Goldblatt’s ouster is a precursor to the hiring of free agent Bob Sirott. Although speculation persists that Sirott is being considered for a major anchor role at the station, Fox officials still have not made him an offer, sources said.
Goldblatt, 41, may be seen as the latest scapegoat for the station’s chronic ratings ills. Despite the hiring of high-profile contributing anchor Anna Davlantes and boosts from such Fox hits as “American Idol” and “Glee,” Channel 32’s newscasts remain dead last in the market and, by at least one measure, down more than 20 percent from last year.
When previous management tapped Goldblatt to replace Mark Suppelsa on Channel 32’s 9 p.m. newscast in August 2008, he seemed an odd choice for the role. He’d had little experience as an anchor, and appeared stiff and uncomfortable alongside his supremely cool and confident co-anchor, Robin Robinson. Goldblatt’s bosses did him no favors by refusing to allow him to speak to the press or boost his profile in the market in any way.
Whatever his initial shortcomings as an anchor, Goldblatt brought a sterling resume as a broadcast journalist. During his nine years with Fox News Channel, he covered wars in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iraq, battles in the Middle East between Hezbollah and Israel, political conventions, presidential campaigns, and the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans, among other natural disasters. He continued to report for Channel 32, winning Emmy Awards for both hard news and investigative reporting.
A graduate of Colgate University, Goldblatt worked for several stations and was chief investigative correspondent for the syndicated news magazine “American Journal” before joining NBC-owned WTVJ-TV in Miami as a general assignment and investigative reporter. In 1999, he was hired as a Chicago-based correspondent for Fox News Channel.
In 2003, Goldblatt became national news himself when his pants almost fell down while he was covering Hurricane Isabel in Virgina Beach, Va. Jay Leno and Jimmy Kimmel played the clip on their late-night shows, recalled author Douglas Brinkley in The Great Deluge: Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans, and the Mississippi Gulf Coast. The scar on Goldblatt’s chin also was the target of much good-natured ribbing among his colleagues — as well as the subject of a YouTube video by Nancy Loo. (Here is the link.)
Goldblatt was among a wave of Fox News Channel anchors and reporters drafted for key news positions at Fox-owned stations under big boss Roger Ailes. Among others were Dari Alexander, Rick Folbaum, Greg Kelly, Heather Nauert and Mike Jerrick.