It’s been five weeks since Chicago’s most prominent sports anchor was last seen on the city’s top-rated television station, where he’s been a fixture for 27 years.
But the bosses of ABC-owned WLS-Channel 7 have yet to explain or even acknowledge the absence of Mark Giangreco, leaving viewers in the dark and prompting co-workers to wonder if he’ll ever return.
Calls and texts to Giangreco and his longtime agent, Joel Weisman, were met with the same “no comment” as those to John Idler, president and general manager of ABC 7, and his representatives. Crickets all around.
What’s known for sure is that Giangreco, 68, made his last appearance on the air January 28. Except for a few random tweets, he hasn’t been heard from since. He’s also been missing as a contributor to Tom Waddle and Marc Silverman’s afternoon show on Good Karma Brands ESPN sports/talk WMVP 1000-AM.
Whatever Giangreco said or did that night on “Eyewitness News” was deemed serious enough to silence him for the longest time in his four-decade run on Chicago TV. He still has 18 months left on a contract extension signed in 2019.
Known for his irreverent wit and sarcasm, Giangreco has gotten himself in trouble before for wisecracks on his sportscasts and, in one case, on Twitter. But this time seems different, according to insiders.
In a world of pretentious posers, Giangreco has always come across as honest and authentic. Maybe that’s why he’s the highest paid sports anchor in town. And why he’s being enshrined this year in the Silver Circle of Chicago TV Academy — a signal honor he can display next to his Ring Lardner Award.
A native of Buffalo, New York, and graduate of the University of Dayton, Giangreco joined ABC 7 in 1994 after 12 years at NBC-owned WMAQ-Channel 5.
His status as a Chicago icon was sealed with his 20-year run as co-host of the top-rated New Year’s Eve countdown show with Janet Davies. Last month Davies announced that her contract had not been renewed after 37 years at ABC 7.
Tough business these days.
Tuesday’s comment of the day: Bob Purse: I have read here and elsewhere (including Wikipedia) of this being Bob Sirott’s 50th year on area radio. But I have a reel to reel tape of him doing what was clearly a regular Monday night shift on a Skokie station, WRSV, in December of 1967. I posted it to my site – dedicated to things found on reel to reel tape – earlier this week.