Robservations on the media beat:
In 2011 there was no more daunting task in all of television than replacing “The Oprah Winfrey Show” in its home market of Chicago. That challenge fell to Emily Barr, then president and general manager of ABC-owned WLS-Channel 7. Defying the odds, she launched “Windy City Live,” an ambitious locally produced talk show featuring a live studio audience each day. Barr hired producers Marlaine Selip and Cindy Patrasso and tapped Val Warner and Ryan Chiaverini as co-hosts after months of auditions. “Very proud of the talented staff, past and present, who kept this local show going for 10 years,” Barr wrote on Facebook Wednesday after news of the show’s cancellation broke here. “Every beginning has an ending. So glad I could play a small part in getting this launched. Be proud of what you accomplished!” Barr left ABC 7 in 2012 to become president and CEO of Graham Media Group.
Ryan Chiaverini also posted a message of thanks Wednesday, calling his “Windy City Live” tenure “a heck of a ride.” (Here is the link.) “I am still processing everything, but I am also filled with gratitude and appreciation,” he wrote in part. “I am extremely proud of what we accomplished over the past decade. Thank you Chicago! For 10 years and more than 2000 episodes, you welcomed us into your living rooms. . . . As humans, rarely do we realize how fortunate we are when we are actually in the moment. It’s usually not until it’s over that we look back with great appreciation. But with ‘Windy City Live,’ I knew how lucky, blessed, and fortunate I was. I always say: ‘I have the best TV job in Chicago.'”
Joe Brand, sports anchor and reporter at Nexstar Media news/talk WGN 720-AM, has been named host of Chicago Blackhawks pregame and postgame shows and the weekly “Blackhawks Live,” starting September 29. The Oak Lawn native and Illinois State University graduate who joined WGN in 2013 replaces Chris Boden, who was cut after four years. Calling Brand “one of the exciting sports broadcasters in Chicago,” WGN sports director Dave Eanet said: “He’s been a key part of our Blackhawks broadcasts on WGN for several years, but mainly behind the scenes. Now, we’re thrilled that he can share his expertise, energy, and enthusiasm with Blackhawks fans on the air on a daily basis.”
Jim Daley, politics editor of the nonprofit South Side Weekly, is among local reporters whose work was plagiarized by the Chicago Crusader. MuckRock, the nonprofit transparency site that works with newsrooms, disclosed that a Crusader report on Chicago policing in June was lifted largely from a story by Daley and also plagiarized work by Chicago journalists Heather Cherone and Matt Masterson. “Plagiarism is something we at the Chicago Crusader take very seriously and do not under any circumstances tolerate,” the newspaper wrote in a retraction. “We sincerely apologize to South Side Weekly, and our readers and colleagues at other publications, and we are taking appropriate measures to prevent something this egregious from occurring in the future.”
Katherine Nagasawa has resigned as audience engagement producer at Chicago Public Media news/talk WBEZ 91.5-FM. She’s joining Full Spectrum Features, a nonprofit Chicago-based production company focusing on diversity in the independent film industry by producing, exhibiting, and supporting the work of women, LGBTQ, and minority filmmakers. As an independent filmmaker she has produced several documentaries. A graduate of Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism, Nagasawa joined WBEZ in 2016 as a production assistant and served as multimedia producer for the “Curious City” series.
HBO has set an August 3 premiere date for “Obama: In Pursuit of a More Perfect Union,” a three-part documentary chronicling the personal and political journey of President Barack Obama. (Here is the link to the trailer.) Among Chicagoans interviewed for the documentary are Laura Washington, David Axelrod, Valerie Jarrett, Bobby Rush, Jeremiah Wright and Jesse Jackson. The second and third parts will debut August 4 and 5. The series also will stream on HBO Max.
Wednesday’s comment of the day: Howard Schlossberg: It’s sad to see local programming canceled, but if Chiaverini had been left in sports and Giangreco had been put on ”Windy City Live” 10 years ago, it probably wouldn’t be getting canceled now, would it?