– This move didn’t generate as much outrage as Ben Affleck being cast as Batman last Friday, but the day before, trash TV talk show host Jerry Springer was named as host of the Chicago Emmy Awards, set to take place on November 3 . The announcement did cause one member of the Academy board to resign, as many in the local television community weren’t thrilled with the move. As you recall, Springer was hired by WMAQ-TV in 1997 to deliver commentaries on the station’s 10 p.m. newscast, causing Ron Magers and Carol Marin to resign their positions as anchors (Marin has since returned to WMAQ as an investigative reporter.) Springer was produced at the NBC Tower from 1992 to 2009, when his show moved to Stamford, Conn. to join Maury and Steve Wilkos, a former Springer bodyguard whose show taped at NBC Tower for its first two seasons.
Springer returned to the headlines last week after he defended a tweet Dr. Phil McGraw wrote to promote an upcoming topic on Dr. Phil, which was intended to be serious in nature. Of course, Springer took the opportunity to defend the circus-like atmosphere of own show, which now airs weekdays on WCIU at 11 a.m. and on U Too (WCUU) at 6 p.m.
Past Emmy hosts included David Steinberg, Oprah Winfrey, and Roger Ebert. Byron Allen (who now heads Entertainment Studios) hosted in 1989, which was the last time the local Emmys were televised (over WMAQ.)
For those upset about Springer being picked to host the Emmys or Affleck becoming heir to the Batman throne, look at this way – at least Jim Belushi wasn’t selected for either gig.
Or Miley Cyrus.
– Following what WMAQ and WLS-TV recently did, CBS-owned WBBM-TV is expanding weekend morning newscasts. Beginning next month, WBBM is adding a 6 a.m. hour to its existing 7 a.m. hour, leading to CBS Sunday Morning at 8. Since returning to the daypart last year, WBBM has scored its highest ratings on Sunday morning in the LPM (local people meter) era since 2004.
– Meanwhile, WGN-TV has finalized its lineup for its weekday morning newscasts, which beginning September 3 adds a 9 a.m. hour with Larry Potash, Robin Baumgartner, meteorologist Paul Konrad and sports guy Paul Tomasulo holding sway from 6 until 10 a.m. Dan Ponce and Erin McElroy anchor the 4 and 5 a.m. time slots and is being joined by features reporter Marcus LeShock.
WGN’s sister station in New York also is realigning its anchor lineup with Kori Chambers becoming the new morning co-anchor at WPIX in New York. Chambers currently co-anchors Good Day Chicago at WFLD-TV here. Both WGN and WPIX are owned by Tribune. Chambers’ last day at WFLD is on September 11.
– After 28 years at WGN Radio, Nick Digilio has finally scored a full-time gig after years of part-time and fill-in work. Beginning Sept. 4, Digilio will hold down the Monday-Friday overnight shift from 2 to 5 a.m. and from 8 p.m. to midnight on Saturday (when not pre-empted by sports.) Digilio got his start in 1985 when then-host Roy Leonard invited him on his show to talk cinema, leading to a regular segment and other part-time work on WGN. On September 7, Digilio returns the favor and is having Leonard on his show to talk cinema.
– Won’t go into this too much, but whether if you’re a fan of his or not, you have to admire the way WGN Radio host Mike McConnell stood up to a local media “blogger” last week on Facebook, responding to the numerous stories this person has written over the years – some of it inaccurate, according to the former Cincinnati host. McConnell (who was moved to online and podcasting after three low-rated years in midday) defended his work at WGN Radio in his post, and set the story straight. Who’d thought McConnell – a poster boy for the much scrutinized Michaels/Metheny era at WGN-AM – would become a sympathetic figure?