Yours truly was celebrating when Ben “Party All The Time” Silverman left NBC Monday. Now comes the bad news: it appears Anna Davlantes is following him out the door.
Ms. Davlantes exited NBC-owned WMAQ-TV today after failing to come to a contract renewal agreement with the station.
WMAQ’s station manager (Fran Whitaker) put out a short statement thanking her for her nine years at the outlet.
According to Lewis Lazare at the Chicago Sun-Times, Davlantes was being escorted from the station at around 4:30 p.m. Wednesday, then a half-hour later, a station spokesperson said she was no longer with the station. But at 5:30, station officials said the station was still fluid.
But by mid-morning Thursday, station management did make Davlantes’ departure official.
Davalantes has mainly been a weekend and fill-in anchor at WMAQ, but sources say she had been privately frusturated about not getting a more prominment anchor role at the station.
Davalantes had also appeared on a WTTW Friday night show called Rewind, but that program is currently on hiatus. There is now word on when – or if – the public-affairs program will return.
This is the third major departure at the NBC-owned station in the last several months, following Warner Saunders’ retirement and Bob Sirott’s exit. The station had been on a ratings roll at 10 p.m. the last few months, with its household ratings increasing while its main competitors slipped.
But reaction to Davlantes’ departure has mostly been negative, with many lashing out at WMAQ and NBC management, despite Davalantes reportedly turning down a contract offer from the station. The reaction is understandable, given NBC’s prime-time and management troubles (i.e. Jeff Zucker and the departed Ben Silverman) are well known – not to mention many internet posters on messageboards have called out the station recently for screw-ups on several newscasts.
The question now is, what lies ahead for WMAQ without a few recongizable faces? But more importantly, what does the future hold for Anna Davlantes?
Hopefully, it won’t be with “Party All The Time” at Barry Diller’s IAC.