Sports anchor Jill Carlson is out at WFLD-Channel 32. Carlson's contract, which runs through the end of August, is not being renewed. Lou Canellis, who had been handling sports for the station's "Good Day Chicago" morning show, is believed to be a prime candidate for the weekday sports anchor job Carlson was to have filled at least temporarily following longtime sports anchor Corey McPherrin's re-assignment.
McPherrin and Anna Davlantes were shifted to "Good Day Chicago" to host the final three hours of that five-hour program. McPherrin and Davlantes started their new jobs today.
A WFLD spokeswoman said various people would anchor sports on the 9 p.m. newscast until a permanent replacement is named. Canellis could be a front runner for the job. Sources say Canellis was the sports anchor for trial runs of the 9 p.m news done last month to give newly-arrived co-anchor Bob Sirott and veteran WFLD anchor Robin Robinson a chance to work together in front of the cameras before their first official newscast together on July 19.
WFLD general manager Michael Renda, newly returned from vacation, said Monday the station is "somewhere in between" starting and finishing the massive overhaul of the station's newscasts that began more than nine months ago. "We're not ready for prime time yet," said Renda, but added that viewers should have a fuller sense of what he and news director Carol Fowler want from the flagship newscast by September. Among other things, the newscast is expected to feature longer news segments and a more conversational tone in the delivery.
Renda said he was pleased with the bump up in ratings for WFLD's flagship 9 p.m newscast in the July Nielsen ratings book. But he cautioned "it's way too early to read too much into it." Still, Renda likes what he's seen of the chemistry between Sirott and Robinson as 9 p.m. co-anchors.
Carlson's departure is but the latest of a seemingly unending series of talent exits and arrivals at WFLD in recent months, and Renda said more changes will be made if he and Fowler think they are warranted. "We're still evaluating everything," Renda said.