Michelle Alegria, who graced ABC-owned WLS-Channel 7 for nearly 10 years as a featured contributor to its “190 North” magazine show, is joining Fox-owned WFLD-Channel 32 as traffic reporter for “Good Day Chicago.”
Alegria is expected to be announced Monday as replacement for Jenny Milkowski, who left the weekday morning show last week after three years. Fox 32 contracts with Total Traffic Network for its traffic service and personnel.
“Fox told me abruptly Friday they are ‘going in a different direction’ and that ‘it was nothing personal’ . . . they wanted someone who is a ‘more serious’ traffic anchor,” Milkowski said in a statement Sunday. (See full text below.) “I’m not entirely sure what that means, since I am very serious about traffic reporting and the impact of traffic on Chicago area drivers. Yet, I have no hard feelings toward Fox and I wish the station the very best as it makes changes.”
The latest addition to “Good Day Chicago” follows the hiring of another Chicago area native, Brittney Payton, who started January 16 as a co-host and reporter. Payton formerly was co-host of “Chicago’s Best” on Tribune Broadcasting WGN-Channel 9. Both Alegria and Payton are represented by attorney Steve Mandell.
Alegria, the daughter of Mexican immigrants, grew up in Melrose Park and graduated from Trinity High School in River Forest and Columbia College. A former Miss Latina Illinois, she worked for stations in Roswell, New Mexico, and El Paso, Texas, and for CLTV here before joining ABC 7 as a reporter for “190 North.” She left the weekly lifestyle and entertainment show in 2011 — two years before it was canceled.
Pursuing acting ambitions, Alegria moved to Los Angeles, where she landed a few small parts in movies and commercials. She also made recurring appearances on “Grey’s Anatomy” and “Castle.” Last year she moved back home with her three children.
“Good Day Chicago” airs from 4 to 10 a.m. Monday through Friday.
Here is the full text of Milkowski’s statement:
I remember the day I started filling in at Fox Chicago. My heart was so full and I was elated and humbled to be on-air at the very station I once interned at many moons ago . . . in the very city I was born and raised.
When I came to Fox I brought with me roughly 10 years of producing LIVE news in Chicago at various stations. I brought with me television reporting, weather reporting and radio reporting experience. I was able to shoot and edit my own materials. I brought with me years of studying improvisation at The Second City Chicago, hosting digital shows ranging from topics like food, technology and real estate and years of studying acting.
When I accepted the full time position under the former news director I hit the job running. I built up a following of more than 133,000 followers. Social media was a big requirement of the job, so I worked around the clock booking my own segments around Chicago. I am currently the #1 digital talent in the Chicago market (stats according to ShareRocket) I explored new restaurants, burlesque shows, indoor skydiving, relationship segments, hot topics . . . you name it, I did a video on it. I produced my own workout videos with a local health and fitness expert. I produced and edited daily Polish lessons. I tried to be an ambassador for the Polish community . . . which dominates the Chicago area. I was involved in countless charity events (especially for the animals) I even reported on evening traffic from home, and did many things outside of my normal working hours, simply because I’m so committed to the job. I put my blood, sweat and tears into this position. But as you know, this business can be rough.
Fox told me abruptly Friday they are “going in a different direction” and that “it was nothing personal” . . . they wanted someone who is a “more serious” traffic anchor. I’m not entirely sure what that means, since I am very serious about traffic reporting and the impact of traffic on Chicago area drivers. Yet, I have no hard feelings toward Fox and I wish the station the very best as it makes changes. I am grateful for the time I had with the station. I will miss so many people who I worked with. What saddens me most is that I was not able to say goodbye to the people who matter the most . . . the viewers. That breaks my heart. The reason this is so long is because I feel like I owe my viewers an explanation. My heart breaks as I write this, but I know great things are in store and I will continue to inform and entertain people on many media platforms.
THANK YOU CHICAGO for welcoming me and supporting me. Thank you Fox 32 for offering me this opportunity. I love you all. Dziękuję 🙂