Bittersweet farewell closes out ABC 7’s ‘Windy City Live’ after 10 years

Ryan Chiaverini and Val Warner

Today the curtain falls on “Windy City Live,” closing out a 10-year run for the locally produced talk and entertainment show on ABC-owned WLS-Channel 7.

Genial hosts Val Warner and Ryan Chiaverini, who’ve been there from day one, will look back at highlights of the past decade and test each other’s knowledge of the show with a trivia contest moderated by Roe Conn.

Hank Mendheim

“It’s rare for talk shows to last as long as ‘Windy City Live’ did,” executive producer Hank Mendheim told me. “We had 10 incredible years thanks to the support of everyone at ABC 7 and of course loyal Chicagoans. I’m proud of the work we did, the entertainment we provided and the good people of this city we helped along the way.”

Today’s farewell also will catch up with some of the people and organizations helped by the show over the years.

Starting Monday, ABC 7 will replace “Windy City Live” at 1 p.m. weekdays with “Tamron Hall,” the New York-based syndicated talk show hosted by the former Chicago news anchor and “Today” show co-host.

As “Tamron Hall” enters its third season, production has shifted from Walt Disney Television to ABC News. Both are units of ABC 7’s parent company, Walt Disney Co. ABC News already oversees “The View.”

The cancellation of “Windy City Live” resulted in the loss of about 10 full-time jobs and an unknown number of freelance positions. But Warner and Chiaverini will stay on at ABC 7 — as will the “Windy City” branding.

“Although this is bittersweet, the great news is ‘Windy City Weekend’ will continue the fun with everyone’s favorite hosts, Val and Ryan,” Mendheim said. Starting September 10, the half-hour preview of weekend events and activities will air at 11:30 a.m. Fridays.

Richard Roeper

Also staying on at “Windy City Weekend” will be Sun-Times movie critic Richard Roeper, who’s been a contributor to “Windy City Live” throughout its run. He’ll continue to review movies for the new show.

“The two of you have left an indelible impression on the history of television in Chicago,” Roeper told Warner and Chiaverini on Thursday’s show. “A decade is a remarkable accomplishment.

“Behind the scenes . . . it’s always been an upbeat supportive positive vibe with some of the best minds I’ve ever worked with. It’s been a great experience for me and I’m looking forward to this next chapter,” he said.

Thursday’s comments of the day: Chad Rubel: Rewind TV, like Antenna TV, doesn’t run the outro music of its shows. The 30 seconds that are “saved” seems to go against the audience that appreciates intro and outro music to its shows. We keep hearing the phrase “know your audience.” They should be listening.

Frank Baker: I agree. As a DirecTV customer, there are several programs devoted to old TV shows from the 1950s-1970s. As far as I can tell, only ME-TV runs the full opening and closing credits with the original theme music. I’m glad ME-TV appreciates how important that is to its viewers.