Bob Sirott out at Channel 5

Longtime media personality and fill-in anchor Bob Sirott and NBC-owned WMAQ-TV parted ways today, apparently over money regarding a contractual provision stating he would succeed retiring 10 p.m. anchor Warner Saunders, which would lead to an increase in salary.

WMAQ tried to renegotiate Sirott’s contract to short the multi-year deal, so Sirott and WMAQ decided to end their relationship.

This is the second time Sirott departed WMAQ; in 1993, he was fired as co-host of First Thing In The Morning, the station’s 6-to-7 a.m. morning newscast (his co-anchor? Allison Rosati, who was his 10 p.m. partner.)

Sirott went on to stints at Fox-owed WFLD-TV (Fox Thing in the Morning) and WTTW, where he was host of Chicago Tonight. He also has an ongoing gig with a midday show at WGN-AM.

The move may also be related to NBC’s decision to strip Jay Leno at 9 p.m. every weeknight. While NBC is saving money by airing a program that costs less than scripted dramas, it could winding up hurting its O&Os and affiliates’ late-news programs. Also, the shift from analog to digital is likely to benefit one of its rivals (CBS-owned WBBM-TV), which as of Friday, will appear over-the-air in HD to thousands of Chicago-area homes – which means more viewers to its newscasts.

No word on a replacement, but the name being thrown around is current reporter Rob Stafford.

Thought: When Sirott was fired from WMAQ in 1993, what happened to the ratings for First Thing In The Morning?

They went up.

When Sirott departed Fox Thing In The Morning, what happened to their ratings?

They went up (only to come back down.)

When Sirott left Chicago Tonight in 2004 and Phil Ponce returned as host, what happened to their ratings?

They went up.

Isn’t it obvious why WMAQ let Sirott go?

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