Robservations: WTTW doc to spotlight Joffrey’s ‘The Nutcracker’

The Joffrey Ballet “The Nutcracker” (Photo: Cheryl Mann)

Robservations on the media beat:

Production is underway on “The Nutcracker Behind the Scenes,” a one-hour documentary on The Joffrey Ballet’s new version of the holiday classic, to air later this year on WTTW-Channel 11 and public television stations nationwide. In addition to revealing how the production was remade in 2016 to incorporate Chicago’s 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition, the film will explore the history of the ballet and the city. Set to premiere in November, the documentary is being produced by Daniel Andries for the Window to the World Communications station. “The inaugural season of Christopher Wheeldon’s ‘The Nutcracker’ was enjoyed by thousands in attendance at Chicago’s Auditorium Theatre last winter,” Joffrey artistic director Ashley Wheater said in a statement. “For those who experienced the magic ‘live’ and those unable, we’re pleased to be able to share his labor of love with audiences all around Chicago and beyond.” Continue reading

Alison Cuddy named artistic director of Chicago Humanities Festival

Alison Cuddy

Alison Cuddy, former arts and culture reporter at Chicago Public Media WBEZ FM 91.5, was promoted Thursday to artistic director of the Chicago Humanities Festival.

Effective August 1, she’ll move up from associate artistic director of the civic institution known for its year-round gatherings of some of the world’s “most exciting thinkers, artists and performers” and celebrations of ideas. Cuddy joined the organization as program director in 2014. Continue reading

Robservations: Ebert named to Chicago Literary Hall of Fame

Roger Ebert

Robservations on the media beat:

Roger Ebert, the Pulitzer Prize-winning film critic who wrote 17 books, will be inducted into the Chicago Literary Hall of Fame August 19. The ceremony, emceed by Chicago Tribune columnist Rick Kogan, will be at the new American Writers Museum, 180 North Michigan Avenue. Other 2017 inductees include Margaret Ayer Barnes, Fanny Butcher, Eugene Field, Fenton Johnson and Ring Lardner. “I am thrilled,” said Chaz Ebert, who will accept the honor on her late husband’s behalf. The movie critic for the Sun-Times and nationally syndicated television host died in 2013 at 70. Continue reading

Robservations: Rance Crain exits family business

Crain Communications

Robservations on the media beat:

Rance Crain

While Crain’s Chicago Business has been without a publisher since David Snyder resigned last November, the publication’s parent company just underwent a seismic change at the top. Rance Crain last week sold his 50 percent stake in Crain Communications to his brother, Keith Crain, and stepped down as president, editorial director and member of the board. “Now it’s time for me to open another chapter of my life, and I look forward to the challenge and opportunity,” said Rance Crain, a 57-year veteran of the company and the man who created Crain’s Chicago Business in 1978. The move gives Keith Crain and his children full control of the company founded by patriarch G.D. Crain Jr. 101 years ago. The Detroit-based publisher owns 55 business, trade and consumer brands in North America, Europe and Asia. Continue reading

New Sun-Times owners promise no union interference

Jorge Ramirez and Edwin Eisendrath

The new owners of the Chicago Sun-Times vowed Thursday to maintain the journalistic integrity of the newspaper without interference from labor unions or other investors.

Jorge Ramirez, president of the Chicago Federation of Labor, who will serve as chairman of the Sun-Times, said the unions will not be involved in any coverage of the news nor in the paper’s process of endorsing political candidates. Continue reading

Sun-Times sale — from start to finish

Chicago Sun-Times

An investor group headed by Edwin Eisendrath and a coalition of Chicago labor unions completed the purchase Wednesday of the Chicago Sun-Times and the Chicago Reader. The agreement culminated eight weeks that shook local media and changed the course of Chicago’s history as a two-newspaper town.

Here is a timeline of events leading to the sale, as reported on this blog. To read the full posts, click on the headlines: Continue reading

Done deal: Eisendrath beats tronc to buy Sun-Times, Reader

Chicago Sun-Times

In the end, one man made all the difference.

Edwin Eisendrath, the former Chicago alderman who ran losing campaigns for governor and congressman earlier in his career, just won the most unlikely challenge he’d ever undertaken: He kept the Chicago Sun-Times independent and out of the clutches of Chicago Tribune owner tronc.

“It was bashert,” Eisendrath told me, using the Yiddish word for “destiny.” How else to explain the odds he overcame to make it happen? Continue reading

Robservations: Telemundo Chicago adds weekend newscasts

Noticiero Telemundo Chicago

Robservations on the media beat:

In the latest expansion of local Hispanic media, Telemundo Chicago WSNS-Channel 44 will launch 30-minute newscasts at 5 and 10 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays, starting July 22. Weekend editions of Noticiero Telemundo Chicago will feature news anchor Hernan Fratto, weather anchor Jessica Delgado, sports anchors César Rodríguez (on Saturdays) and Rodrigo Arana (on Sundays), and reporters Angélica Gómez and Jorge DeSantiago. “This local news investment delivers on the commitment we have to our viewers to give them the most up-to-date information across all platforms no matter the day of the week,” David Doebler, president and general manager of Telemundo Chicago and WMAQ-Channel 5, said in a statement. Both stations are owned by NBCUniversal. Rival Univision Chicago WGBO-Channel 66 has been airing local news seven nights a week for years. Continue reading