Robin Robinson demoted, Anna Davlantes out at Fox 32

Robin RobinsonThe ironwoman streak is over for Chicago news veteran Robin Robinson.

26 years and six co-anchors later, Robinson – whose local career started at CBS-owned WBBM-TV in the 1980’s, is losing her longtime 9 p.m. anchor slot at Fox-owned WFLD-TV, being assigned to special reports.

No replacement has been named, but sources speculate that former WLS-TV midday anchor Sylvia Perez is being considered for co-anchor alongside new arrival Jeff Herndon, who replaced Bob Sirott last month.

Robinson is the last remaining member of the original Fox 32 News team, which launched on August 3, 1987.

Robinson’s demotion was actually tipped a few weeks ago during an TVNewscheck interview with Fox Television Stations CEO Jack Abernethy. Asked to give samples on what his station group is doing to revamp his newscasts, he said this about WFLD: “We have got sort of three people really. We’ve got two anchors and then Robin Robinson comes in with her special reports.”

Good grief, does the head of one of the most profitable station groups in the country even know who is employed at his properties he runs?

Robinson and WFLD achieved their greatest success during the Walter Jacobson era (1993-2004), reuniting the two former WBBM alums. Ratings were respectable, despite failing to overthrow WGN-TV at 9 p.m. But after WFLD didn’t renew Jacobson’s contract, the station’s signature newscast fell into a sea of mediocrity, with bad decisions being made one right after another. Despite a miscue here and there (the Santa Claus fiasco of 2011 comes to mind), Robinson remained a bright spot and maintained professionalism throughout.

And what exactly Robinson is being demoted to? Something called Chicago At The Tipping Point, which tries to examines the city’s gang violence and crime problem, as well as poor schools and the state’s pension dilemma. But anyway you slice it, the slogan sounds like something a marketing consultant came up with. After watching a few of their “reports”, Tipping Point really does nothing to address the problems many city neighborhoods are facing and is nothing but tabloid sensationalism in disguise (one segment spent five minutes discussing Stephen Colbert making a joke about Chicago on his show. Really?)

The move comes as WFLD is once again hitting the reset button on its news operation, with the recent hiring of new, out-of-town personnel, the possible return of former WMAQ-TV sports anchor Jon Kelley, and the surprise departure of Good Day Chicago’s Anna Davlantes, who at one time was thought to be the heir apparent to Robin Robinson’s co-anchor chair.

And now they’re considering adding WMAQ reject Kelley to Good Day Chicago? Maybe they’ll force us to sit through more of station GM Dennis Welsh’s inane editorials.

Fox 32 News is truly the Jacksonville Jaguars of journalism.

Ho Ho Ho. Losers

 

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