WBBM-Channel 2 's early morning show "Monsters & Money in the Morning," will end Aug. 27. The station is developing a new, as yet untitled early morning show that will debut Aug. 30. Steve Bartelstein, a Chicagoan who had been working in New York for WABC-TV and then WCBS-TV, will relocate to Chicago to front the new newscast, a WBBM station spokeswoman said. Bartelstein left WCBS in 2009, and had been looking for a new assignment since then. The rest of the early morning team that will work with Bartelstein is still to be determined.
WBBM's new early morning show will be more traditional in format than "Monsters" was, but still different enough to offer an alternative to what is currently available, station sources said. And Channel 2's new early morning show will start at 4:30 a.m., the start time that is now the new norm in the Chicago market for early newscasts.
The fate of the four "Monsters" anchors, including Sun-Times columnist Terry Savage, Mike Hegedus, Dan Jiggetts and Mike North, is unclear, but sources said it's possible one or more of them will continue to work at the station.
"Monsters" lasted just seven months. Its ratings were abysmal, about half of the already minuscule numbers WBBM was pulling in the early morning time slot before "Monsters" debuted.
WBBM general manager Bruno Cohen and news director Jeff Kiernan hoped they could give Chicagoans something different, but most viewers rejected the roundtable format with hosts discussing finance, sports and other news of the day. If nothing else, Cohen and Kiernan may have learned a valuable lesson about how far from the traditional news formats Chicagoans are willing to venture. There were also complaints from viewers that one or more of the hosts were missing from the show too often during its brief run.