Janet Davies and Mark Giangreco, who rang in the New Year together for two decades on WLS-Channel 7 before they were ousted from the ABC-owned station, will turn up for this year’s countdown show on NBC-owned WMAQ-Channel 5.
Davies and Giangreco will reunite as they join Matthew Rodrigues and Cortney Hall, hosts of NBC 5’s “Chicago Today,” on “A Very Chicago New Year,” starting at 11:08 p.m. December 31. It also will stream on NBCChicago.com and through NBC Chicago’s free apps on Roku, Amazon Fire TV and Apple TV.
“We’re thrilled to bring this very Chicago ensemble together to start the New Year and provide viewers with an expanded show this year,” said Kevin Cross, president of NBC Universal Local Chicago.
While the countdown to midnight will be live, segments featuring Davies and Giangreco will be taped.
NBC 5’s special also will include appearances by Chris Chelios, Buddy Guy, Dan Aykroyd, Jim Belushi, Giuliana Rancic and cast members from NBC’s “Chicago Fire,” in addition to performances by Chicago and The Blues Brothers.
In February Davies was cut after 37 years as entertainment reporter and program host at ABC 7.
And in March Giangreco was forced out after 27 years as sports anchor following a complaint by news anchor Cheryl Burton that Giangreco referred to her on the air as someone who could “play the ditzy, combative interior decorator” on a do-it-yourself show.
Earlier this month ABC 7 won the Chicago/Midwest Emmy Award for outstanding achievement for special event coverage for its top-rated “Countdown Chicago 2021,” which featured Davies and Giangreco sharing a sanitized smooch at midnight with puppets bearing their likenesses.
“Ironic, eh?” Davies wrote on Facebook after the Emmy win for what turned out to be their final New Year’s Eve appearance on ABC.
In other New Year’s Eve highlights:
- Billed as “the longest running New Year’s Eve show in Chicago,” ABC 7 will air “Countdown Chicago 2022,” starting at 11:25 p.m. December 31. Val Warner and Ryan Chiaverini of “Windy City Weekend” will host along with Terrell Brown, Cheryl Scott and Hosea Sanders. Look for Brown and Scott to open the show with another spectacular dance number — this time lighting up State Street with a ’90s music mix.
- “Chicago’s Very Own New Years Eve Blast,” hosted by Dean Richards, Lourdes Duarte, Sarah Jindra, Demetrius Ivory, Patrick Elwood and Glenn Marshall, will air on Nexstar Media WGN-Channel 9, starting at 11 p.m. December 31.
- “WGN Radio’s New Year’s Eve Extravaganza” will kick off with Steve King and Johnnie Putman from 3 to 7 p.m. December 31 on news/talk WGN 720-AM. John Records Landecker will host the countdown show, starting at 7 p.m.