Rafer Weigel, son of the late Tim Weigel, a prominent Chicago TV sports anchor and newspaper reporter for many years, may become the new weekend sports anchor at ABC-owned WLS-Channel 7. He would replace Ryan Chiaverini, recently tapped along with Valerie Warner to co-host WLS's new live morning talk show "Windy City Live," slated to debut after the 25th and final season of "The Oprah Winfrey Show" ends in late May.
A Channel 7 spokeswoman declined comment on a report of Weigel's imminent hiring that first surfaced on an industry trade website NewsBlues.com. WLS general manager Emily Barr also declined comment.
Rafer Weigel, 41, has been the sports anchor for the past three years on cable news channel HLN's "Morning Express with Robin Meade." Coincidentally, Weigel also had been a candidate to host WLS's new live morning show, until he bowed out of the competition, indicating he wanted to continue with his job at HLN.
Weigel grew up in Evanston, and attended Evanston Township High School and the University of Illinois, where he earned a degree in theater. He started out as an actor in Chicago theater, but then moved on to Hollywood where he had some success, including a recurring role on the NBC series "Jenny" and several movie parts -- among them a role in the movie "Rated X" about the porn industry.
Rafer Weigel returned to Chicago after his father's death from a brain tumor in 2001, and began a career in journalism writing about sports for the Sun-Times as a freelancer and doing a show called "Celebrity Rock" on WCKG-FM, now known as WCFS-FM.
Weigel returned to the west coast in 2005 to work in TV, first as freelance reporter in San Diego and then full-time general assignment reporter in Sacramento, before joining HLN in 2008.