Veteran Chicago media personality Bob Sirott is returning to Fox-owned WFLD as an anchor for the station's signature 9 p.m. newscast on July 19, alongside Robin Robinson. He replaces Jeff Goldblatt, whose contract at the station was not renewed.
The station initially denied it was pursuing Sirott, even though Vocalo's Robert Feder and the Tribune's Phil Rosenthal said otherwise.
Sirott was last at NBC-owned WMAQ-TV as a temporary 10 p.m. replacement anchor alongside Allison Rosati. Sirott took over after Warner Saunders retired. Sirott was released from his contract after negotiations to renew failed.
Sirott's hire is a bit of a homecoming. He helmed Fox Thing In The Morning for six years with co-anchor (and future wife) Murianne Murciano.
When Fox let him go in 2000, Sirott went on to host Chicago Tonight on WTTW and later went to WMAQ as a fill-in anchor.
Sirott's other employment gigs in Chicago included stints at WBBM-FM (during the station's progressive rock era), WLS-AM, WGN-AM, WBBM-TV. He also did a stint for CBS News' short-lived newsmagazine show West 57th.
The move is intended to boost sagging ratings for WFLD's 9 p.m. newscast, which has not benefited from its network's strong lead-ins of Glee and American Idol - and the opportunity to further cash-in on the latter's success may be slipping away with ratings already declining and likely to accelerate with Simon Cowell now gone from the show (for the record, American Idol has historically underperformed the national average locally, notably after hometown favorite Jennifer Hudson was eliminated from competition early in 2004.)
WFLD's newscasts are the weakest O&O in the Fox chain, given its New York, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Atlanta, Detroit, and Boston counterparts (among others) fare so much better in 9 p.m. (10 p.m. ET) and morning newscasts.
Thought: I think the pairing of Bob Sirott and Robin Robinson (another WBBM-TV alum) is a good idea - Sirott's chemistry with on-air partners have worked well in the past and will work with Ms. Robinson. Sirott never should been released from Fox Thing In The Morning, which was one of the best local morning shows in a long time. Had WFLD management been patient and not throw in the towel in the face of WGN-TV's morning show, Fox Thing could have been the market's top-rated morning show.
Instead, it languishes in fourth place (just barely ahead of perennial last-place dweller CBS This Morning or The Early Show, or The Morning Program, or whatever they call it now) with David Navarro and the ditzy Jan Jeffcoat, who alone makes the show unwatchable. She makes former CBS morning show hosts Phyills George and Mariette Hartley geniuses by comparison.