It’s official: After years on the drawing board and weeks of rehearsals, Fox-owned WFLD-Channel 32 finally is set to launch a one-hour newscast at 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Start date is Tuesday, July 5.
Fronting the show will be four principals of Fox 32’s 9 p.m. newscast — news anchors Dawn Hasbrouck and Jeff Herndon, meteorologist Bill Bellis and sports anchor Lou Canellis.
The long-awaited expansion will bring Fox 32 up to speed with its competitors in late afternoon news. It follows the hiring last April of Fox 32 news director Matt Piacente, a former executive producer at NBC-owned WMAQ-Channel 5 and producer at Tribune Media WGN-Channel 9.
Newly named executive producer of Fox 32’s 5 and 9 p.m. newscasts is Irene Lobo Salerno, who worked with Piacente and assistant news director Todd Woolman at WGN. Salerno had two runs at WGN — as executive producer, special projects producer and 9 p.m. news producer from 1993 to 1998, and as producer, news writer and special projects producer from 2004 to 2011.
Salerno was married to the late Randy Salerno, the former morning news anchor at WGN and CBS-owned WBBM-Channel 2, who died in a snowmobile accident in 2008.
As executive producer at Fox 32, she succeeds Scott Warren, who left to become executive producer of “Michaela,” a new morning news program hosted by Michaela Pereira and debuting July 11 on HLN. It will originate from the Hollywood studios of CNN.
Fox 32 currently airs “TMZ” at 5 p.m. and “Dish Nation” at 5:30. To accommodate the new 5 p.m. newscast, the station will air “TMZ Live” from 3 to 4, “TMZ” at 4 and “Dish Nation” at 4:30. Gone will be daily reruns of “TMZ” at 3 and “Dish Nation” at 3:30.