“Chi-Town Rising,” Chicago’s answer to New York’s Times Square celebration on New Year’s Eve, won’t be back this year. But that isn’t going to stop NBC-owned WMAQ-Channel 5 from ringing in 2018 anyway.
Arena Partners, organizers and promoters of the first two outdoor parties, did not cite a reason for pulling the plug, but sources said the “Chi-Town Rising” events in 2016 and 2017 were not profitable.
Nevertheless, NBC 5, which broadcast the first two “Chi-Town Rising” spectacles with Telemundo Chicago WSNS-Channel 44 and on numerous stations throughout the country, says the show must go on. A station representative confirmed that a live New Year’s Eve special will air again this year. No details were available.
For viewers, that means there will be local competition once more for ABC-owned WLS-Channel 7, which has been airing its own “Countdown Chicago,” hosted by Janet Davies and Mark Giangreco, for more than 25 years.
John Murray, founder of Arena Partners and executive producer of “Chi-Town Rising,” once hoped to make the event an iconic, annual tradition. The 75-foot star that ascended at midnight over the Chicago River on the Hyatt Regency Chicago — billed as “the biggest New Year’s Eve icon in the world” — has been mothballed.