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WFLD Reporter, Fox Sued Over News Story

wfld32A former Cook County (Illinois) attorney Frank Gardner is suing Fox and Dane Placko, a reporter at Fox-owned WFLD in Chicago, alleging a story the station ran was defamatory.

The Chicago Sun-Times reports neither Fox nor Placko would comment on the lawsuit, which seeks more than $250,000 in damages:

Last February, Fox ran a piece by Placko that alleged Gardner’s wife and son — also named Frank — were running for seats on the Water Reclamation Board, the suit alleged.

In the story, Placko said that Gardner’s wife was going by her maiden name, Kathleen Mary O’Reilley.

“The defendants labeled Frank’s wife’s use of her maiden name as a deceptive election practice,” the suit stated. “It’s clear from the context of the entire broadcast that the defendants were claiming that the entire Gardner family was corrupt and dishonest.”

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Dionne Miller Lands at Rival Station

miller wls_croppedWLS has announced the addition former WFLD sports anchor Dionne Miller to its sports team.

“During her time here in Chicago, Dionne Miller has built a stellar reputation as an aggressive reporter who tells great stories and connects with viewers,” Jennifer Graves, VP & news director for the Chicago ABC owned station, said in a statement.

Miller left the Chicago FOX owned station at the beginning of October. Before WFLD, Miller worked for FOX Sports Ohio, KSVI-KHMT in Billings, Mont., WPTZ in Burlington, Vt., XETV in San Diego and WCSN in Columbus, Ohio.

WMAQ Report Used for Governor Pat Quinn’s Re-Election Campaign Ad

With the midterm elections just a few weeks away, local stations are being bombarded with political ads. Chicago’s WMAQ is no exception, but the NBC-owned station is unhappy about it for a very specific reason.

On Friday, a new 30-second commercial began airing throughout Illinois for Governor Pat Quinn (D) in his re-election campaign against challenger Bruce Rauner (R). The ad uses excerpts from a WMAQ report about Rauner and includes the voice of political editor Carol Marin.

Chicago media reporter Robert Feder writes that the excerpt is based on a joint investigation by WMAQ and the Chicago Sun-Times, reported by Marin, Don Moseley and Dave McKinney, which delved into Rauner’s business practices.  Read more

WFLD to Realign Morning Anchors

wfld32Viewers of Chicago FOX owned station WFLD will notice their favorite morning anchors showing up on different newscasts starting Monday.

Jon Kelley will join Melody Mendez starting at 4:30 a.m. The two will now anchor together until 7:00 a.m. when Corey McPherrin and Darlene Hill will take over at the anchor desk through the 9:00 show. Both Hill and McPherrin will also co-anchor the Noon show.

The changes mean Natalie Bomke is off the morning desk. She moves to weekends with Larry Yellen.

Chicago Radio Star Ends One TV Show, May End Up with More

mancow500Chicago radio host Mancow is ending the simulcast of his radio show on FOX owned Chicago MyNetworkTV affiliate WPWR today.

While that may not seem like a big deal to most of our readers, the move may signal a bigger role for the controversial radio host on a larger TV stage.

TVSpy hears from sources inside WFLD, the Chicago FOX owned station may be developing other projects with the Chicago based radio host, one of which may be a movie review show. We also hear FOX Television Stations may be interested in looking at a broader role for Mancow in the station group.

FOX says WPWR will air programming such as “Right This Minute” in the slot left vacant by the Mancow Radio Show.

Dionne Miller Leaves WFLD

miller cropped wfldDionne Miller, weekend sports anchor for Chicago FOX owned station WFLD, has left the station.

Her last day on-air was Sunday. While there’s no word where Miller is heading, TVSpy hears it might be another station in the market.

Miller started at WFLD in April 2012. She has also worked for FOX Sports Ohio, KSVI-KHMT in Billings, Mont., WPTZ in Burlington, Vt., XETV in San Diego and WCSN in Columbus,, Ohio.

A station spokesperson told TVSpy Evan Fitzgerald will fill-in until a permanent replacement is named. Fitzgerald does work for the Big Ten Network.

Former WFLD Anchor Anna Davlantes Returns, on the Radio

Screen Shot 2014-09-29 at 9.52.36 AMAnna Davlantes, who left Fox-owned WFLD in Chicago last October, is joining the radio news team at Chicago’s WGN AM. As the Chicago Tribune reports, the station is beefing up its staff to compete with rival news station WBBM:

Davlantes talked about the new role with Chicago media reporter Robert Feder:

“They understand that I have contacts and sources in the community, and I’m going to use those to try to uncover the stories that people aren’t covering,” Davlantes says. “They’re playing to my strengths.”

After leaving Fox-owned WFLD-Channel 32 in October 2013, Davlantes fielded offers for television jobs, but all were out of town. “I made the decision to stay in Chicago,” she says.

Horrors! Could Local Emmy Awards Really Be ‘Little More Than a Moneymaking Enterprise’?

Jeff-Hoover-2006-1024x677Sure, those statues are lovely to look at, and the phrase “Emmy Award winning…” does roll off the tongue, doesn’t it? But Jeff Hoover, producer at Chicago CW affiliate WGN, has had enough. “I’m done. No more. That’s it,” he writes on Facebook.

Hoover, an Emmy winner, concluded the categories are bizarre, the costs are high, and the significance of the award is questionable. And Chicago media writer Robert Feder clearly agrees, giving the illustrious “Academy” one of the strongest body checks in recent memory:

Local Emmy Awards have always been an exercise in self-congratulations, to be sure, but somewhere along the way they lost their luster — and their relevance.

Today they’re little more than a moneymaking enterprise for the Chicago/Midwest chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, which rakes in thousands in membership fees, entry fees, dinner ticket fees, program book fees and additional statuette fees under the dubious claim of recognizing “excellence in our industry.”

It’s nice to win one, I suppose, but don’t forget that Larry Mendte won 27 during just four years in Chicago. (Altogether he claims to have 90 regional Emmys.)

Zing! Do you still enter the Emmypalooza every year? Is it truly all about honoring excellence, or more of a wine-soaked and high-priced back-slapping party?

After 66 Years, Could the Chicago Cubs Break Up With WGN?

Picture 2Few relationships in local television have been as enduring as that of the Chicago Cubs and WGN, Chicago’s CW affiliate. WGN aired its first regular season Cubs game back in 1948, and the two iconic Chicago brands have been together ever since. But now, there’s talk this weekend’s games on WGN could be the last, as the Chicago Tribune reports:

With one week left in the season, and its expiring agreement with WGN-Ch. 9, the team has yet to announce broadcast plans for 2015 and beyond. Sources say the Cubs are exploring everything from a private equity partnership to a new regional sports network, but a long-term deal may not be imminent.

History aside, the finances had not been happy for the partnership of WGN and the Cubs, with TV viewership way down–the station losing an estimated $200,000 per game, according to the Tribune.

‘Trailblazer’ Theresa Gutierrez to Retire at WLS

Theresa-GutierrezABC-owned WLS in Chicago announced Tuesday reporter Theresa Gutierrez will retire after 42 years. Gutierrez joined the station as a production assistant in 1972, and became a general assignment reporter in 1986, earning respect and honors in the years since:

Gutierrez was one of the first Hispanic women to break into television journalism. Gutierrez along with Barbara Walters, Connie Chung, Christiane Amanpour, and Jane Pauley were featured on the cover of the educational book, Women Who Broke Barriers: The New Face of TV News. The book was distributed to schools throughout the world. She was also featured in a book produced by the Museum of Broadcast Communications entitled Chicago Television.

According to John Idler, President and General Manager, “The word trailblazer defines Theresa Gutierrez. She broke ground in Chicago television as one of the first Hispanic woman to serve in both a producer and on-air role. She brought a tremendous amount of passion to her work and a commitment to the community that has never wavered in more than four decades. We thank Theresa for her countless contributions and wish her nothing but the best.”

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