Chicago Sun-Times
Lewis Lazare follows Chicago media and marketing news

Kate Sullivan to join WBBM-Channel 2 as news anchor


Finally CBS-owned WBBM-Channel 2 is adding to its depleted pool of local news anchors. Kate Sullivan, 33, will join the station in early September as an anchor whose duties are yet to be determined. The likely betting is that she will work with current solo anchor Rob Johnson fronting WBBM's flagship 10 p.m. weekday news report. Most recently, Sullivan was a morning news anchor at WCBS-Channel 2 in New York. WBBM news director Jeff Kiernan declined comment about Sullivan's hiring.

If nothing else, Sullivan will help take some of the considerable load off of solo anchor Johnson's shoulders. But she is going to be hard-pressed to dispel the impression that she is yet another outsider brought in to help improve the station's disappointing news ratings. In the most recent Nielsen June ratings report, WBBM's flagship 10 p.m. had slipped into fourth place behind top-ranked WLS-Channel 7, second-place WMAQ-Channel 5 and third-ranked WGN-Channel 9. WBBM had risen as high as second-place at 10 p.m., before it started to slip back in the pack.

One source familiar with developments said Kiernan chose Sullivan "because she has proven she can move the ratings needle in every job she's had." Before moving to WCBS in New York, Sullivan had worked as an anchor and reporter in only much smaller markets, including South Bend, Ind., Providence, R.I., and Little Rock, Ark.

Sullivan fills a gaping hole created last spring when WBBM management opted not to renew the contract of ex-anchor Anne State, who was brought to WBBM from the west coast by former WBBM general manager Joe Ahern. Though she was invariably a charming and cheerful presence in front of the camera, State was often faulted by WBBM news insiders for her repeated slips on air that suggested she did not know the city especially well. Before deciding not to renew her contract, Kiernan demoted State to reporter to help her gain more familiarity with Chicago.

Like State before her, Sullivan, who bears more than a passing resemblance to politician Sarah Palin, has never worked in Chicago before, but she did attend nearby University of Notre Dame. It remains to be seen whether Sullivan will prove just another attractive news reader, or a genuine talent that can help WBBM distinguish its news operation from the competition.

Since his arrival here 18 months ago, WBBM news director Kiernan has been intently focused on developing a local news product with content sufficiently distinctive to draw viewers away from competing newscasts. That effort, however, has yet to catapult WBBM to the top of the ratings heap.

Meanwhile, a WBBM spokeswoman said the station's rumored interest in hiring legendary news anchor duo Bill Kurtis and Walter Jacobson to handle early news anchor chores is still just speculation at this time. Which probably means such an option remains a distinct possibility.


Kate Sullivan is a great News Anchor. I loved watching her on channel 2 News NY 5-7am. Its a shame to see her go, but she will be a great asset to WBBM.

Good Luck Kate !

I switched from channel 4 NBC to channel 2 in New York in part because Kate Sullivan is a breath of fresh air. You will love her in Chicago as we miss her in New York. Good luck Kate.

The comment above "...remains to be seen whether Sullivan...just another attractive news reader, or a genuine talent" shows that the writer never bothered to check the history of Kate Sullivan, who is an extremely intelligent and talented News Anchor. Chicago is very lucky to have landed her, and your ratings will go up because of her! She is already sorely missed on the 5-7 am New York news on WCBS-2. Good luck Kate! We really, really miss you!

PS BTW, she does NOT look or in any way resemble someone like Sarah Palin. What an insult to compare her to such an uneloquent and vindictive person.

I 'd watched morning news only because of Kate and their great team. She is a real beauty, very intelligent, sweet person. I miss her so much. But lucky Chicago!

Nancy S. comments about Sarah Palin reveal a total ignorance about Sarah. Vindictive? She has taken so much crap and kept her mouth shut until that crap hit her kids. If you have kids you wouldn't do the same? You sound like one of those bitter so-called feminists who are jealous of Sarah because she is prettier than all of you.

Kate Sullivan is a wonderful asset to any news station. I will miss having a cup of coffee in the morning with her. Chicago will grow to love Kate! She's a unique and talented anchor.

Kate in no way looks like Sarah Palin..puhlease...she looks better and is REALLY missed on CBS in the mornings. She was a sunny personality and a missed member in the morning team

Kate is BREATHTAKING!!! I never watch the news until now. What an unbelievable beauty!!!!

Usually we surf the nightly news, but when I saw Kate Sullivan, my jaw dropped and I have watched her co-anchor the nightly news ever since. Not only is she beautiful, but she has great delivery and timing. Yes, we are lucky here in Chicago.

I love to watch Kate Sullivan and listen to her also, she has a great speaking voice, just right for any media. Go! Irish! Yes. she is a breath of fresh air.. I hope she stays around. Good Luck Kate!

Leave a comment



About the blogger

Lewis Lazare has written the Media Mix column for the Chicago Sun-Times for the past seven and a half years.

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Lewis Lazare published on July 22, 2010 12:50 PM.

BULLETIN: Blake Ebel out at Euro RSCG/Chicago was the previous entry in this blog.

Ben Bradley and Eric Horng get new roles at WLS-Channel 7 is the next entry in this blog.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.