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Chicago Anchor Sues Telemundo Over Firing

schmidt_telemundo1Edna Schmidt, a former news anchor at two Spanish-language stations in Chicago, is suing one of them, Telemundo-owned WSNS, for firing the anchor after she appeared to anchor a newscast while drunk. Robert Feder reports Schmidt’s lawyers filed a lawsuit in federal court last week, accusing the station and NBC Universal with violating the Americans with Disabilities Act by failing to provide the anchor with “reasonable accommodation” for her alcoholism:

After two months on the air, Schmidt was suspended as co-anchor of “Noticiero Telemundo Chicago” when she showed up intoxicated on the 10 p.m. newscast September 30, 2013. Within weeks her suspension turned into termination from her $200,000-a-year job. Management at the time said only that Schmidt was no longer with the station, adding: “We wish her the best in her future endeavors.”

Seeking unspecified damages for wrongful termination, Schmidt’s lawsuit alleges that her bosses made no attempt to get her treatment.

Chris McDonnell, president and general manager of Telemundo Chicago, declined to comment on the lawsuit Monday.

WTTW’s Phil Ponce to Return After Illness

Phil-Ponce-112012-263wChicago PBS affiliate WTTW says anchor Phil Ponce will likely be back on the air Monday after an illness forced him into the hospital for several days. As Robert Feder reports, Ponce was treated for chest pain and a cyst in his liver:

“Phil is grateful for everyone’s good wishes and asks that the public not send cards or letters,” according to a statement from WTTW-Channel 11, where Ponce hosts the flagship nightly news program “Chicago Tonight.” “He emphasizes that he is perfectly fine and is looking forward to getting back to work.”

Ponce, 65, had been “feeling some discomfort” Wednesday before he moderated a live U.S. Senate forum between Democratic incumbent Dick Durbin and Republican challenger Jim Oberweis, a spokeswoman for the Window to the World Communications station said.

Still feeling pain in his side and chest that radiated to his right shoulder, Ponce called his doctor, who sent him to the emergency room at Northwestern Memorial Hospital, the spokeswoman said. Tests showed a benign cyst in his liver, which was drained.

Charlie Hale Should Always Do the Weather on WGN

Meet Charlie Hale. Mister Hale is a second grader at Our Lady of Mt. Carmel and he is already better than you at TV. Click on the picture to be taken to WGN’s site to watch the video.

Charlie showed off a dance he learned from Calvin and Hobbes and said “hi” to his teachers before telling WGN weather anchor Paul Konrad “Let’s get down to business.”

Dressed in a Lionel Messi soccer uniform, Hale delivered his weather as if he’d been doing it his whole life, then danced his way off while wishing everyone a Happy Halloween.

Click here to see Hale set the tone in his intro segment in the weather center.

WLS to Host Live Facebook Q&A with Governor’s Race Candidates

1457699_10152861092066162_7680627002931929686_nTonight, Illinois Governor Pat Quinn will take questions from voters on the Facebook page of WLS, the ABC-owned station in Chicago. Tomorrow night, challenger Bruce Rauner will take questions in the same way.

Facebook’s Andy Stone tells TVSpy WLS’ event marks a first for local stations:

“Facebook’s Q&A tool offers candidates and elected officials a quick, easy and engaging way to interact with constituents and voters in real time. Facebook’s exciting partnership with WLS-TV means that days before they go to the polls, for the first time ever, Illinoisans will have the opportunity to discuss the issues with both gubernatorial candidates on the ABC 7 Chicago Facebook page.”

Viewer engagement with this kind of event can be surprising. Recently, ABC News reached more than 10 million people with a town hall on Ebola, which was hosted on the ABC News Facebook page.

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.”

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.

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