Eddie Arruza leaving WTTW to ‘continue growing professionally’

Eddie Arruza (Photo: WTTW)

Eddie Arruza, the veteran newsman who’s been a capable and well-informed correspondent on “Chicago Tonight” for 15 years, announced he’s leaving WTTW-Channel 11 to pursue new ventures.

Friday will mark his last day at the Window to the World Communications public television station with his final appearance as host of “The Week in Review.”

“I feel the need to move on in order to challenge myself and continue growing professionally,” Arruza said. “My future plans are still in development. I wish only the very best for my colleagues at WTTW and [classical radio station] WFMT. And I’m grateful to have been in their company carrying out a mission rather than just a job.”

On the eve of Chicago’s mayoral election, Arruza leaves big shoes to fill on “Chicago Tonight,” his station’s flagship nightly news show. “As a popular, skilled and versatile contributor to the program since June 2004, Eddie will be greatly missed,” a spokeswoman said in a statement. “All of us at WTTW wish him the very best as he moves on to new adventures.”

The Cuban-born Arruza, 58, who came to the U.S. with his family in 1966 and graduated from the University of Cincinnati, began his career in Spanish-language television. He later worked as a reporter for ABC-owned WABC in New York and as a reporter, fill-in news anchor and program host at Tribune Broadcasting WGN-Channel 9 here.

“‘Chicago Tonight’ premiered just months before I moved to Chicago in the summer of 1984, and it entered my radar not long thereafter,” he recalled. “John Callaway [the founding host] was a mesmerizing force unlike any television journalist I had ever seen, local or national. I never imagined that one day I would work on the program that John so inimitably enshrined as a necessary vehicle for thoughtful and in-depth analysis and meaningful conversation.

“Two decades later, it was a privilege to join that legacy program, walking on the path John forged but knowing it’s impossible to ever fill his shoes. However, I will cherish the various times John personally called to compliment me on an interview I did,” he said.

“Over the last 15 years I could not have asked for more inspiring colleagues than Phil Ponce, Carol Marin, Joel Weisman, Bob Sirott and executive producer Mary Field, as well as a dedicated and talented staff of producers and engineers. And now the future of  ‘Chicago Tonight’ is in the very capable hands of a new generation of fine correspondents and producers who, I’m confident, will guide it well.”

Wednesday’s comment of the day: Richard Klicki: I’m waiting for Jussie Smollett to announce he’ll devote his life searching for the real attackers.