Mark Suppelsa temporarily steps down

WGN-TV anchor Mark Suppelsa released a statement Friday evening, announcing he was taking a leave of absence from the station for a month and is admitting himself to a rehabilitation facility in Minnesota to battle an alcoholism problem.

To read his statement to WGN staff and to viewers, click here.

Suppelsa has been co-anchoring the station’s 5 p.m. and 9 p.m. newscasts since 2008. Before that, he was co-anchor of rival WFLD-TV’s 9 p.m. newscasts for five years, and was a general assignment reporter for WMAQ-TV beforehand.

With Suppelsa on the bench for the rest of the May sweeps period, don’t look for WGN’s newscasts to lose much ground against WFLD’s newscast at 9. Even with putrid lead-in ratings from The CW (especially barely-watched LA Complex and America’s Next Top Model) and strong lead-ins from American Idol, ratings for the Fox-owned newscasts still trail WGN by a wide margin. But keep in mind overall news viewership – and those of the big three major networks in the time period – continues to decline thanks to the huge impact from cable and DVR use.