Rahm puts ‘Chicago Tonight’ on agenda

Phil Ponce and Rahm Emanuel

Phil Ponce and Rahm Emanuel

As he begins his second term in office with a reputation for being inaccessible to the media, Mayor Rahm Emanuel has agreed to make regular appearances on “Chicago Tonight,” the flagship news program of public television WTTW-Channel 11.

Starting tonight, Emanuel is expected to turn up every four to six weeks for what the Window to the World Communications station is calling “a series of in-depth conversations” with various staffers on the show. “Chicago Tonight” airs at 7 p.m. Monday through Thursday and streams on WTTW.com.

Tonight’s interview will be conducted by political reporter Paris Schutz, who’ll grill the mayor on last week’s Illinois Supreme Court ruling on pension reform and the latest on the Obama Presidential Library coming to Chicago, according to an announcement Tuesday.

Mary Field, executive producer of “Chicago Tonight,” expressed high hopes for the arrangement.

“Our interviews with Mayor Emanuel will be of sufficient length to get beyond sound bites, to help our audiences better understand the difficult issues facing our city,” Field said in a statement. “We think this is an important service we can offer our viewers, particularly in a critical time when the mayor is being forced to make some painful choices that will affect the lives of many citizens.”

Host and chief correspondent of “Chicago Tonight” is Phil Ponce, who lives a few doors down from Emanuel in the Ravenswood neighborhood — a fact Ponce has disclosed in previous interviews with the mayor.

Emanuel will start his second term Monday with a swearing-in ceremony at the Chicago Theatre.