ABC 7 to produce 7 p.m. newscast for The U

Linda Yu and Hosea Sanders

Linda Yu and Hosea Sanders

In a groundbreaking partnership between two Chicago television powerhouses, Weigel Broadcasting’s WCIU-Channel 26 will air a one-hour Monday-through-Friday newscast in prime time, to be produced by ABC-owned WLS-Channel 7.

Starting January 12, “ABC 7 Eyewitness News on WCIU, The U,” will air from 7 to 8 p.m. weeknights, with veteran news anchors Linda Yu and Hosea Sanders, sports anchor Jim Rose and ABC 7’s newest hire, meteorologist Cheryl Scott. The newscast will originate from ABC 7 studios at 190 North State Street.

“We are very excited about our partnership with WCIU, The U,” John Idler, president and general manager of ABC 7, said in a statement Tuesday. “It gives viewers a chance to watch Chicago’s No. 1 news at a new time and is a convenient option for those who want live, local news earlier in the evening.”

Bob Ramsey, executive vice president of local media for Weigel Broadcasting, described the deal as a licensing agreement with the ABC-owned station. Weigel Broadcasting will handle all advertising sales. “Adding local news to the schedule was a goal of ours,” Ramsey said. “We are thrilled to partner with ABC 7 Eyewitness News, the market’s news leader, to provide this service to WCIU, The U’s viewers.”

The plan to produce and license a local newscast appears to be a first for Chicago, although ABC Television Stations already have similar arrangements with local outlets in Los Angeles, Philadelphia, San Francisco and Raleigh/Durham, North Carolina.

Terrell Brown

Terrell Brown

Yu will continue to anchor ABC 7’s 4 p.m. weekday newscast. But the new assignment means a major change for Sanders, who has anchored ABC 7’s morning newscast since 1994. As of January 12, he’ll be succeeded from 4:30 to 7 a.m. weekdays by Terrell Brown, who signed on last April after five years as a CBS News correspondent. Brown will join co-anchor Judy Hsu, meteorologist Tracy Butler and traffic reporter Roz Varon.

In addition to anchoring with Yu at 7 p.m on The U, Sanders will contribute reports to ABC 7’s 4, 5 and 6 p.m. newscasts and will be heading a new stationwide initiative covering the community, according to Idler.

“I will truly miss my morning co-anchors; they’ll always be like family to me,” Sanders said. “But after 20 years of waking up at 2:30 in the morning, the chance to anchor a prime time newscast on WCIU is a wonderful reward for my hard work. Linda Yu and Jim Rose have been great colleagues and friends of mine since I started at the station, so launching this newscast with them along with our new meteorologist Cheryl Scott will be very gratifying.”