“The brightest new addition to Fox Chicago” was how I described reporter Amara Walker just before she was promoted to weekend news anchor at WFLD-Channel 32 last year.
So of course she’s on her way out now. Of course.
In Walker’s case, according to the Chicago Tribune, she’s quitting to follow her husband, plastic surgeon Thomas Walker, who landed a new position somewhere else. But whether she jumped or was pushed doesn’t matter. Either way, it means another talented, capable professional is about to leave the sinking ship at 205 North Michigan Avenue.
Since August, Fox 32 has cut ties with Bob Sirott, Anna Davlantes, Kori Chambers and Patrick Elwood. And from the looks of it, Robin Robinson and Corey McPherrin have one foot out the door and the other on a banana peel. The younger, less experienced newcomers who replaced them all have one thing in common: They’re cheaper.
This is the same low-rent outfit that requires its anchors to operate their own Teleprompters by stepping on foot pedals or pressing hand-held devices to advance their scripts. The same one that dropped its professional makeup artist and ordered on-air talent to apply their own makeup. The same one that turned a reporter blue — literally blue — right before our eyes.
How are the ratings, you ask? Dead last — and down as much as 36 percent from last year.
A magna cum laude graduate of the University of Southern California with a dual degree in political science and broadcast journalism, Walker spent seven years at WTVJ-TV, the NBC-owned station in Miami, before she joined Fox 32 as a per diem reporter in July 2012. She was promoted to weekend anchor alongside Larry Yellen the following October.
With her departure, it’s unclear whether Yellen will return to anchoring the weekend newscasts solo (as he did for two years before she started) or his bosses have other ideas.
Keep calm and carry on.