Co-anchor Jeff Goldblatt's tenure at Fox-owned WFLD-Channel 32 is about to end. A station spokeswoman confirmed that Goldblatt's contract, which is up in August, will not be renewed. Goldblatt is, however, expected to continue working at the station through the end of his contract.
Goldblatt's experience in broadcast journalism prior to taking on an anchor role at WFLD in 2008 had primarily been as a TV news correspondent with the Fox News Channel, not as a news anchor. Goldblatt's lack of experience in that anchor role apparently became a liability over time, at least in the eyes of the current WFLD management team, including general manager Michael Renda and news director Carol Fowler. "He was a square peg in a round hole, and there was no chemistry between him and co-anchor Robin Robinson," said a source with the station.
WFLD is reportedly considering several candidates to replace Goldblatt. One name that has been floated is Bob Sirott, who had been expected to become co-anchor with Allison Rosati of NBC-owned WMAQ-Channel 5's flagship 10 p.m. newscast last year. But Sirott was jettisoned in favor of Rob Stafford. Sirott also previously co-anchored WMAQ's weekend news with current WFLD contributing anchor Anna Davlantes. Sirott had nothing to say about speculation he might succeed Goldblatt at WFLD. "My plan is to enjoy the summer," said Sirott.
When Renda and Fowler bring on board a new (presumably male) co-anchor, that will leave the station with three co-anchors for its hour-long 9 p.m. newscast -- co-anchor Robinson, Davlantes and the new hire. On the surface it would appear to be an awkward anchor arrangement, but it's one, we're told, that Renda and Fowler are comfortable with.
The departure of Goldblatt is part of Renda's and Fowler's bigger plan to totally revamp their 9 p.m. news product. The intent is to end up with a newscast that includes longer, more in-depth segments that would differentiate the news program from others in the market.
WFLD has the lowest-rated late news program in the market, and Tribune Co.-owned WGN-Channel 9's hour-long late news is in next to last place in the Nielsen ratings -- having been hit by some significant ratings erosion this season. WGN insiders attribute that decline, in part, to powerhouse prime time network programming that has siphoned off some of the station's news audience.