Mark Giangreco out at ABC 7 after on-air comment about Cheryl Burton

Out after 27 years at ABC-owned station

As expected, ABC-owned WLS-TV fired top sports anchor Mark Giangreco was fired late Friday after his on-air comment about co-anchor Cheryl Burton.

As first reported by Robert Feder, Giangreco was officially released from his contract, settling financial terms with the station, which were not disclosed. Giangreco arrived at ABC 7 in 1994, after 12 years at rival NBC 5 (WMAQ-TV). Giangreco replaced the popular Tim Weigel as sports anchor, who moved to CBS 2 (WBBM-TV) where he was until 1999 when he was forced off the air due to brain cancer, dying a short time later.

Giangreco made an off-hand on-air comment on January 28 during the sports segment about Burton saying she “can play the ditzy, combative interior decorator.” Burton reportedly complained to management about the comment and Giangreco has been off the air ever since. Giangreco is known for his biting humor, but it has gotten him in trouble numerous times at ABC 7 and apparently to management, this was the last straw.

Earlier, ABC 7 released Janet Davies after 36 years. She and Giangreco co-hosted the highly-rated Countdown Chicago New Year’s Eve special each year.

With Davies and now Giangreco gone, it remains to be seen if viewers tune out as ABC 7 has been the local news leader since 1986 and dominated the ratings once again last month in households and the key 25-54 demos. Back in May 1997, NBC 5 had their own drama after then-trash talk show host Jerry Springer was hired to do commentary on the station’s 10 p.m. newscast, with anchors Ron Magers and Carol Marin resigning in protest as Springer lasted only two nights. Ratings fell, but rebounded a few years later.

It also remains to be seen if the news affects his status at WMVP/ESPN 1000, where he is a contributor to the Waddle and Silvy show as he has been absent the last few weeks. Even though ABC 7 and ESPN 1000 share a corporate owner in the Walt Disney Company, ESPN 1000 is managed and operated by Wisconsin-based Good Karma Brands.

ABC 7 has survived key departures before, but this time it could be different as viewers are continuing to head for the exits from linear TV to streaming –  local and national newscasts included and it also comes at a time when many are questioning journalism’s transparency, with “fake news” and all. At least Giangreco’s wit actually gave viewers a reason to smile after hearing about the latest on Chicago’s gun violence epidemic night after night. Community activist Andrew Holmes seems to be a bigger local TV star than most of the Eyewitness News team or any other news team in town these days.

This caps a rather strenuous period in Chicago television in recent weeks with the firing of Chicago Tonight executive producer Hugo Balta over social media tweets and a near-revolt of the NewsNation newsroom, with the departure of several staffers including VP of news Jennifer Lyons. I guess you can say there’s just as much drama in Chicago media on the TV side as there is with Harry, Meagan, and the rest of the Royal Family.

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28 thoughts on “Mark Giangreco out at ABC 7 after on-air comment about Cheryl Burton

    • Mark will be SO missed! Soon you won’t be able to look at anybody’s side idea that it would be an issue. This country/world is getting absolutely ridiculous! We are absolutely the best Mark and will be so missed!!

    • I will not be watching ABC news anymore. Nowadays people are too dam sensitive. Jim rose you made a great decision to get out of that marriage to her.

    • Cheryl Burton is so phony and full of herself. Her phony on air emotion is getting very old. No doubt Ginageco’s good friend and former colleague, Ron Magers didn’t care for her either. I remember very well, his final newscast. Everyone on the set came up to Rob to did him well. When Burton came up to him he had a puzzled and annoyed look on his face. Funny thing is dumb, dumb, Burton didn’t have the foresight to just deal with the comment. Giangreco is no doubt a very big reason that Ch. 7 ratings are as high as they are. No doubt that will change for the worse. Never really heard anyone say that they watch Ch. 7 to listen to the very phony Cheryl Burton. She’s probably a nice lady, just not a very smart one. Obviously the GM at the station was worried about some major backlash or lawsuit if Giangreco wasn’t removed. Well know he can watch the ratings plummet. Nice work!!

    • I won’t be watching channel 7 anymore. Sorry Alan K., Really liked him.
      I remember the old days; Linda,Ron, Jerry and Mark. Gone. Let me know when Cheryl quits or gets fired. Soon I hope.

    • Miss Mark Giangreco. Never did understand why they replaced classy, professional Kathy Brock with Bimbo Burton. Turned off the 5:00 news. Watch 4:00 and 6:00. Judy Hsu is good.

    • My wife and I enjoyed Mark Giangreco immensely, so without him, we will not watch channel 7 ,5:00 news. Cheryl Burton is a “phony”, and I hope she gets replaced by the other “Cheryl”, ( Scott, )which will bring us back . Thanks for the opportunity to voice our opinions. Jack the barber , & Bev the nurse.

    • Cheryl is looking old,sad and tired on tv. Makeup is not helping to hide her rapid aging on tv..
      I thought the two anchors and Mark joked,laugh and made watching the news more plesant. I have enjoyed the way Mark would bring some excitement and fun when presenting his sport reports.
      Cheryl Burton could have handle that incident much better.
      ABC should rewind some of her comments made by her about co-anchors on air,sure they will find more than a few
      I will be watching other TV channels for evening news
      Tired of watching the phony Cheryl Burton!!

    • It took too long if cheryl burton was caucasian it would have happened sooner…..

    • Cheryl Burton is not bright enough to understand humor. Our family doesn’t watch whenever she is on with her phony, unfunny side comments , she tries too hard to make everything about her instead of just reporting the news. (She lost us years ago during the Easter season when reported on Good Friday allying it the “crusification.”) She is bringing a once great news program down, it’s sad.

    • We are done with channel 7. Won’t be watching unless Cheryl Burton leaves. Mark Giangreco always made us laugh.

    • The only reason Cheryl Burton got the anchor job was Jessie Jackson. After Diane Burns negotiated herself out of her anchor position, Jessie Jackson publicly announced that Diane Burns MUST be replaced by an Africa America and Operation Push wouldn’t tolerate any other person.

      • I often don’t respond to comments here, so tell me this: why is it every time an African-American person gets a job in TV news is because of Operation PUSH? I guess to you, Black people don’t earn their merits. Plus, after Diann Burns left for CBS 2, she was replaced by Kathy Brock, a WHITE anchor. I’m not a Jesse Jackson fan either, but it’s interesting how you guys fall back on this same lame ass shit over and over again. Take your fucking racism elsewhere because it’s not welcome here. The only reason I’m publishing this is to show you what a fucking idiot you are.

      • You a member of the Klan? Stop having Relations with the Family pet

    • He should have been Fired a long time ago. He should have Shut up & Gave the Sports. Not try to make it his own Comedy show. I am so glad he is gone. Hope he NEVER gets back in Chicago media

      • Unfortunately Burton signed up for the backlash. She should’ve been the bigger person and came to Mark about the comment. Kathy or Diann would have done the exact opposite of what Burton did. Surprisingly Burns defended Giangreco.

    • You a member of the Klan? Stop having Relations with the Family pet

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