I heard you Michael, Dontryl Alexander and David Burke (who sent in tips on this story), as well as Skyler (@mychiller, who sent me a link on Twitter), Chicagoland Radio and Media (where I heard about this story first), TVSpy, TVNewsCheck, FTVLive and the official WGN-TV website. Now, in a historic moment for WGN’s history, WGN will offer a second late-night news broadcast.
35 years after debuting The Midwest’s first-ever hour-long nightly primetime newscast, The Nine O’Clock News (John Drury and Denise Cannon) on Monday March 10th, 1980, WGN 9 will launch WGN News at 10:00 starting Monday October 5th, 2015. The new weeknight-ONLY half-hour newscast will compete against the heavyweights in Chicago: The #1-rated WLS 7 (ABC)’s ABC 7 Eyewitness News at 10:00 and #2-rated WMAQ 5 (NBC)’s NBC 5 News at 10:00, as well as the lesser known, but once-dominant WBBM 2 (CBS)’s CBS 2 News at 10:00. It will also compete against the Spanish-language newscasts in the area from WGBO 66 (Univision)’s Noticias Univision Chicago a las 10:00 and WSNS 44 (Telemundo)’s Noticiero Telemundo Chicago a las 10:00.
The newscast will be anchored by the same team that already delivers WGN News at 9:00, Mark Suppelsa (having a successful career at WGN 9 after leaving from WFLD 32 – FOX), Micah Materre (The queen of weeknight news on WGN 9, since she also does the 4:00, 5:00 and 9:00pm), WGN 9’s Chief Meteorologist and the Dean of American Local Meteorologists, Tom Freakin’ Skilling (Been at WGN 9 since 1978 and has been America’s #1, most-trusted and most-beloved Local Weatherman for 37 years now. He was part of the original news team from 1980 and is still the only original member left, still on-air from its 1980 debut.) and Sports Director Dan Roan (who has been at WGN for 31 years now, having first started in February 1984, according to WGNTV.com).
The format will be a little bit different at 10:00 p.m. because Tom Skilling will be the first person on at 10:00 p.m. with the full forecast (that’s because he’s on-air at 11:00 a.m., 12:00 Noon, 4:00, 5:00 and 9:00 p.m. and needs some sleep in between!) In addition, according to the story on WGNTV.com, WGN News at 10:00 will feature enterprise stories offering viewers consumer alerts, problem solving tips and investigative reports.
President and GM of WGN 9, Greg Easterly:
“Thirty-five years after launching the WGN News at Nine, news consumption has changed dramatically. We know the appetite for news continues to grow. This new, expanded half-hour will bring viewers all the news and weather you need to know before the night ends. It’s just too important of a time period for us not to be there.”
News Director of WGN 9, Jennifer Lyons:
“We are committed to delivering the successful 9pm newscast we’ve produced for decades. This expansion offers us an opportunity to bring Chicago’s Very Own news team to a whole new audience at 10pm.”
But this won’t be WGN 9’s first attempt at 10:00 p.m. news. WGN 9 once did it prior to 1980 with Nightbeat and the now-famous (now with today’s announcement), John Drury and Newsnine (Tom Skilling was a part of that broadcast too.). But they were low-rated and were canceled to make way for The Midwest’s first-ever hour-long and nightly primetime newscast at 9:00 p.m. called The Nine O’Clock News. So, this will be WGN 9’s first attempt at a 10:00 p.m. newscast in 35 years.
And, according to Chicagoland Radio and Media, WGN 9 will move Celebrity Name Game with Craig Ferguson to 10:30 p.m. to replace syndicated reruns of Friends. WGN 9 already airs an hour of CNG at 10:00 a.m.
This could be the biggest move done by WGN 9 in such a long time, since they haven’t done this in 35 years! After all, since most of Chicagoland watches WGN 9 at 9:00 p.m., they may watch their news at 10:00 p.m. as well! Watch out, WLS 7! Your next biggest competitor at 10:00 p.m. is coming soon to take you out!