Chicago news veteran Sylvia Perez is returning to the airwaves this coming week as new weekend anchor for WFLD’s 7-9 a.m. Saturday and Sunday morning newscasts and starting Monday, filing special reports for the station at 9 p.m.
Perez was with ABC-owned WLS-TV for 24 years, spending several of them co-anchoring the station’s 11 a.m. newscast with Linda Yu, who recently announced her retirement from the station. Perez also was the station’s medical reporter, earning two Emmy Awards. She also runs her own production company, Sylvia Perez Productions.
“I’m thrilled that FOX 32 is giving me the opportunity to get back to Chicago viewers, and even more excited to work with News Director Matt Piacente and Assistant News Director Todd Woolman,” said Perez on her website. “They are two people I have the utmost respect for and have had the pleasure of working with in the past. Many people in that newsroom are already friends of mine. They are all professionals and very good at what they do, and I look forward to coming on board and joining the FOX 32 News Team.”
The move comes as things are finally looking upward for Chicago’s Fox duopoly. Ratings for WFLD’s 9 p.m. news show are improving – at a time the parent network continues to struggle in the ratings. WFLD’s 9 p.m. anchors Jeff Herndon and Dawn Harsbrouck have made the newscast more watchable and Picanete seems to be righting the ship after years of turmoil. This summer, WFLD finally added a 5 p.m. newscast, becoming the last Fox-owned station in the country to do so.
Meanwhile, CW finally rolls out its season premieres this week – something new affiliate WPWR had been waiting on since joining the network September 1.
While complete ratings won’t be out for a few weeks, the verdict is in for Major League Baseball team’s primetime ratings, complied by Forbes. The Chicago Cubs were a big winner not only on the field, but off as well – finishing tenth among all teams, with ratings up 39 percent from last season and up more than 225 percent from 2014, when the team finished last in the standings. On the other hand, another losing season for the Chicago White Sox resulted in a 1.0 prime-time rating, ranking only ahead of the Oakland A’s. This means the White Sox only drew 35,000 homes on average per night. The only positive to take from this was the ratings were up 27 percent from 2015.
The defending World Series Champion Kansas City Royals led all Major League Baseball primetime ratings with a 11.7 rating, though down from the 12.8 a year ago. That was followed by the St. Louis Cardinals and Detroit Tigers. Fox Sports is rights holder for all three.
Another sign of baseball’s local power (and the continuing declining fortunes of the major broadcast networks): 24 teams ranked first in primetime when their games are airing, including the Cubs.
In good news for NBCUniversal Television Distribution (and daytime TV overall), Harry Connick Jr’s new daytime talk show Harry is off to a good start in the national ratings. For the week ending Sept. 18, Harry debuted with a 1.4 household rating and a 0.7 female 25-54 rating, according to Nielsen. Harry tied Maury (also from NBCUniversal) and was a tenth of a point below Steve Harvey (also from NBCU.)
CBS’ Dr. Phil topped all talk shows for the week in households in key female demos.
Monday’s Presidential Debates featuring Donald Trump and Bill Clinton, draw a record-size audience according to Nielsen. The first of three debates drew 84 million viewers over thirteen networks, beating the old record set by 1980’s debate between Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, and John Anderson. It drew 80.6 million viewers.
Many thought Clinton won the debate handily, over a stumbling and sniffing Trump, who may (or may not) had allergies or a cold. Not surprisingly, Trump was his usual bombastic, heel-like wrestler self, using Chicago’s crime and violence epidemic as cheap heat when it came to urban issues (not to worry, the Bears embarrassed the city enough in prime-time the previous night.) Trump could become the first Presidential candidate to get a zero percent vote percentage in the city of Chicago…
The controversial plan to unlock cable set-top boxes has been sheleved – for now. A vote on the proposal was supposed to take place this Thursday, but was sacked at the last minute by FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler, alluding to concerns by a swing vote on the commission – Jessica Rosenworcel, a Democrat. The plans to unlock the boxes has been opposed by studios, unions (with the WGA a notable exception), some civil rights leaders, and cable companies.
While those mentioned above praised the move, others – mainly consumer and liberal groups, panned the move. Both Republican FCC commissioners and several Republican lawmakers (and a few Democrats) are asking Wheeler to publish the text for the proposed rule.
Yours truly wrote about the set-box plan a few months ago, saying the idea is ten years too late as cable boxes are becoming more and more obsolete as consumers are no longer needing them to get cable. Of course, leave it to the FCC to decide what is obsolete – and what is not.
There is a fresh new face at WCIU: Steve Bailey, who has been tapped to head local programming and creative for the Weigel-owned independent station. Bailey comes to WCIU from Media General (soon to merge with Nexstar), where he was a director in the Programming and Affiliate Marketing department. Bailey’s career started at Dayton’s WDTN/WBDT duopoly, as creative services director (WDTN is the NBC affiliate; WBDT is a CW station) and worked on the syndicated series The Daily Buzz and Hollywood Today Live.
“Steve will play a lead role as we continue to grow The U as a choice for local audiences,” said Steven Farber, SVP/Operations for Weigel Broadcasting Co. “Our plans for Chicago include developing a new wave of programming choices on multiple platforms.”
“WCIU has always had a strong commitment to the community,” said Bailey. “I look forward to enriching this engagement through original, local content and the overall viewer experience.”
The move comes as competing independent WGN-TV recently dropped The CW with a desire to develop more local programming.