Robservations on the media beat:
In an election supervised by the National Labor Relations Board, producers at WTTW-Channel 11’s “Chicago Tonight” will vote Friday on union representation. At issue is whether full-time and part-time producers on the public television station’s nightly news show will affiliate with the Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists. “We have put a great deal of time into this campaign and we believe the unit is motivated to form a union and enjoy the protections of a collectively bargained agreement,” said Eric Chaudron, executive director of Chicago SAG-AFTRA. Management of Window to the World Communications declined to comment. SAG-AFTRA currently represents WTTW’s on-air newsroom staff, announcers and pledge talent. Oddly, announcers at the company’s commercial radio station, classical WFMT FM 98.7, are not covered by a union.
WFLD-Channel 32 announced plans Thursday to launch a weekend morning newscast early next year. Dennis Welsh, vice president and general manager of the Fox-owned station, told Crain’s Chicago Business the company was making “a bigger commitment to news” with the addition of shows from 7 to 9 a.m. Saturdays and Sundays. Fox 32 currently airs “Good Day Chicago” from 4:30 to 10 a.m. Monday through Friday. Welsh did not identify talent for the newscasts, which are slated to start “in late January or early February,” according to Crain’s.
More than two years after he was fired over a newsroom brawl, Kendall Gill returns to Comcast SportsNet Chicago Friday as a studio analyst for “Bulls Pregame Live” and “Bulls Postgame Live.” The former Bulls star was dropped after a fight broke out with Big Ten Network analyst Tim Doyle in March 2013. “Kendall’s talent as an NBA analyst has never been questioned, but his actions during a lone incident in our newsroom more than two years ago were unacceptable, and Kendall needed to take time to reflect on and address the behavior at issue,” Kevin Cross, the network’s senior director of news and original content, said in a statement Thursday. “After multiple discussions with Kendall since the incident and a thorough internal process, we feel confident that he will adhere to the professional standards that we have established in our workplace and look forward to his return to CSN’s Bulls coverage.” Said Gill: “Over the past two years, I have had a chance to reflect on the mistake that I made and still feel a great deal of regret for my actions. I have expressed my remorse to the team at CSN Chicago. I am grateful for this opportunity to once again provide Bulls and NBA analysis on-air, and promise that I will make everyone involved proud of their decision to welcome me back.”
It’s that time again: Joel Weisman hosts his annual year-in-review edition of “Chicago Tonight: The Week in Review” at 7 p.m. Friday on WTTW. Joining him to analyze the top stories of 2015 will be political reporters Mary Ann Ahern of NBC-owned WMAQ-Channel 5 and Charles Thomas of ABC-owned WLS-Channel 7, Sun-Times columnist Mary Mitchell, and Associated Press national sportswriter Jim Litke. Because of the holidays it’s the last “Week in Review” show of the year.
Aiyana Cristal, the former Comcast SportsNet Chicago reporter who was at the center of a social media controversy earlier this year, has landed as a news anchor and reporter at WGCL-TV, the CBS affiliate in Atlanta. Cristal was the subject of an exchange on Twitter last March between Dan Bernstein and Matt Spiegel, two hosts from CBS Radio sports/talk WSCR AM 670. The two later apologized for what Cristal called their “cyberbullying attack.” After two years at Comcast SportsNet, Cristal left when her contract was not renewed last fall.
Cheryl Scott, marking her first year as meteorologist on ABC 7, makes a splash this weekend in a $4,200 Alaïa dress on the cover of Splash in the Sunday Sun-Times. She’s interviewed for the piece by managing editor Elle Eichinger, who also happens to be Scott’s best friend.