The Media Notepad: ABC 7 holds on to late-night news ratings lead

Plus…DeDe McGuire returns to Chicago airwaves via syndication; Konkol returns; Judge Steve Harvey?

Despite the well-publicized departure of Mark Giangreco earlier this year, viewers are still tuning in to ABC 7’s (WLS-TV) newscasts and is handily beating their competition.  Even though 25-54 numbers haven’t been released yet and the following only measures total viewers, ABC 7 easily won the 10 p.m. news race with anchors Alan Krashesky and the often-criticized Cheryl Burton according to Robert Feder. ABC 7 beat second-place NBC 5 (WMAQ) by 48,601 viewers, while CBS 2 (WBBM-TV) topped WGN-TV for third place.

As you recall, Giangreco was fired from ABC 7 in March after he made an on-air comment about Burton during a 10 p.m. newscast back in January. While ratings have declined for the station since, it wasn’t enough to knock ABC 7 out of the top news spot for good, surviving a three-way tie for first in May. As this space explained back then, other factors could have led viewers to tune out not only ABC 7’s newscasts but the competition as well.

While Burton was vilified – either justly or unjustly, the uproar on social media about her tells you how much weight it has on TV ratings and life in general… not much. Keep in mind there are tons of viewers who are not on Facebook, Twitter, etc. for one reason or another and local news basically skews to older demos – the least likely to be on those platforms. Viewers simply moved on, and the remainder of those still complaining aren’t exactly the most progressive people on the planet – if you know what I mean.

Look who resurfaced in the news – in the unlikeliest of places breaking the unlikeliest of news. Last Tuesday, a report surfaced that current Bears head coach Matt Nagy was going to be fired after Thursday’s game in Detroit – a game The Lakefront NFL team won. And the person who broke it was none other than Mark Konkol from, a hyperlocal news site.

As you recall, Konkol was ousted from his position as editor-in-chief of The Chicago Reader in less than two weeks due to unethical behavior, including green-lighting a cover of then-candidate J.B. Pritzker riding a lawn jockey in a drawing many said was racist. Konkol wound up being interviewed by numerous local stations on the story that turned out not to be (the Bears’ George McCaskey later denied the report in a meeting with the team’s players.)

Though Konkol was wrong (as many of us thought when we first heard of this rumor), he didn’t exactly back down from his position – he basically got what he wanted and that was tons of publicity. And you wonder why the general public have trouble trusting the media, “fake news” and all.

Even though he’s not a sports journalist, the local news media gave him the benefit of the doubt anyway because he’s a “Pulitzer Prize winner” as his controversial tenure at the Reader in 2018 was barely mentioned. Then again, with a team run by complete buffoons (Bears management didn’t even address the report, leaving Nagy to dispel his own firing at a press conference), it’s not surprising the press would take that position. In all, it’s a bad look for everyone involved – especially the imbeciles at Halas Hall.

DeDe McGuire – who is best known for her on-air work with the late Doug Banks, is returning to Chicago’s airwaves with her syndicated morning show cleared on Power 92 (WPWX-FM). Known as DeDe in the Morning, the show premieres January 3 and is airing weekdays from 5 to 9 a.m., as first reported by Radio Insight.

“We’re so excited to have DeDe wake-up Chicago on Power 92, her whole vibe and feel is what the city and morning radio has been missing”, said Jay Alan, who is program director of the Crawford Broadcasting-owned Hip-Hop station. “Plus, she’s a woman and we all know that women run the world.”

McGuire added, “Get Ready Chicago. We are going to take over the Streets with fun and laughter every morning…Welcome Power 92 to DeDe Nation.”

Based at Dallas’ KKDA-FM – which serves as its flagship, DeDe in the Morning is syndicated by Compass Media. A weekend version airs under the banner DeDe’s Weekend Kickback.

McGuire was known as Banks’ longtime sidekick, starting in 1997 and serving in the role in various syndicated incarnations until 2014, when she wanted to focus on her own morning show she hosted over KKDA, which began three years earlier. In July 2018, Compass began syndication of DeDe and is now heard in sixty markets.

DeDe in the Morning replaces Reach Media’s syndicated The Morning Hustle, which is out after two years. Even though Power 92 is a Hip-Hop station, DeDe in the Morning can fit a wide variety of black music formats according to Compass’ website.

ABC/Matt Sayles

Welcome to Night Court, and I don’t mean the former NBC sitcom.

The second such court show to air in primetime was announced Monday and this time it’s Steve Harvey donning the judge’s robe. The former Chicago-based daytime talk show host is presiding over Judge Steve Harvey, a one-hour weekly ABC series where the comedian will hear real cases ranging from small claims to big disputes. The show is produced by Walt Disney Television’s new unscripted unit with Den Of Thieves.

“It’s always good to come to court when you can’t lose,” Harvey says in the actually entertaining teaser for the new show, which premiers January 4 at 7 p.m. local time.

“I’m extremely excited for the opportunity to continue my fruitful partnership with ABC and collaborate with them on my next venture,” said Harvey.Viewers tuning into ‘Judge Steve Harvey’ will watch as I tackle tough and, at times, entertaining issues while also providing much-needed advice and good old-fashioned common sense to the litigants in my court.”

This is not the first court show to air in primetime. Back last summer, CNBC aired Money Court for six episodes featuring Shark Tank’s Kevin O’Leary along with Katie Phang and Ada Pozo deciding cases in a three-judge panel. But unlike Money Court where litigants appeared remotely, Judge Steve Harvey will have them in person, resembling the daytime court shows most viewers are familiar with such as Judge Judy and Judge Mathis, among others.

Airing court shows outside of daytime is nothing new – in the early 1980s, the original version of The People’s Court ran in access in numerous markets such as KYW-TV in Philadelphia at 7 p.m. and KGO-TV in San Francisco at 7:30 p.m. – in both cases, winning their respective time slots. During the 1997-98 season, WCIU-TV ran Judge Judy at 6:30 p.m. and was a ratings success.

And if you’re looking for Harvey to do this on a daily basis, it could be possible – while hosting Family Feud since 2010 and a syndicated morning radio show, he’s also hosted a daytime talk show in two separate incarnations from 2012 to 2019, so it’s not out of the realm of possibility. Will he bring daytime court viewers to primetime? Well, the jury’s is out – pun intended.


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