Weekend anchor Lauren Jiggetts leaves NBC 5 ‘with gratitude’

Lauren Jiggetts

Lauren Jiggetts, weekend news anchor at WMAQ-Channel 5, has resigned after 10 years at the NBC-owned station — but she’s not expected to be off the air for long.

Jiggetts, 35, chose not to renew her contract as 5 and 10 p.m. Saturday and Sunday anchor in order to pursue other opportunities in Chicago television. Her last day at NBC 5 was Wednesday.

It’s not known where she will turn up next or how long she may have to sit out. The most conspicuous opening for a Monday-through-Friday anchor job is at Tribune Broadcasting WGN-Channel 9, where Lourdes Duarte left the top-rated morning show this week to co-anchor with Ben Bradley at 4 p.m. weekdays.

“This was a difficult decision for me to make, but I think it is the right one,” Jiggetts said Friday. “I have been with WMAQ for 10 years and have greatly enjoyed my time there. My life has changed dramatically since the day I joined WMAQ and I believe, as hard as it is to leave, this is the right decision for me personally and professionally.

“I am leaving with gratitude in my heart and wish them the best. I look forward to whatever the future may bring,” she said.

In announcing the move to staff Friday, Frank Whittaker, station manager and vice president of news at NBC 5, said: “We appreciate all of Lauren’s contributions over the past 10 years, and wish her the best in the future.”

In the next few weeks, Whittaker said, Michelle Relerford will shift from weekend morning anchor to weekend nights, succeeding Jiggetts alongside Dick Johnson. Christian Farr will replace Relerford on weekend mornings alongside Susan Carlson “for the immediate future,” he said.

Jiggetts is the latest high-profile personality to leave NBC 5 voluntarily in recent years, following news anchors Rob Elgas and Anthony Ponce, meteorologist Cheryl Scott, and sports anchor Paula Faris, among others.

A native of north suburban Long Grove and alum of Stevenson High School, Jiggetts is the daughter of former Chicago Bears offensive tackle and longtime sportscaster Dan Jiggetts. She interned at Fox-owned WFLD-Channel 32 and Tribune cable news channel CLTV before graduating cum laude from Harvard University (her father’s alma mater) with a degree in sociology.

She also worked at Channel One News in Los Angeles and WLVI, the CW affiliate in Boston, before joining NBC 5 as a general assignment reporter in 2007. She was promoted to weekend anchor in 2012.