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LSP_8811.jpgRob Stafford, a weekend anchor who had worked alongside the now-departed Anna Davlantes at NBC-owned WMAQ-Channel 5, has been named a co-anchor of WMAQ's 10 p.m. weekday news with Allison Rosati effective Aug. 10. Stafford also will front WMAQ's 5 p.m. and 6 p.m. early newscasts with Rosati. Stafford had been one of a rotating series of anchors working with co-anchor Rosati at 10 p.m., since Bob Sirott left the station in June. Initially, Sirott was the designated heir apparent at 10 p.m. after Warner Saunders' retirement. But Sirott chose not to accept a rewritten contract offered to him by the station, and he exited in June.

Though Stafford was obviously passed over in the initial decision-making that pegged Sirott as the anchor talent the station wanted at 10 o'clock, WMAQ management was forced to give Stafford more serious consideration when Sirott balked at the new contract demands. Sources say the announcement Friday of Stafford as WMAQ's new 10 p.m. co-anchor was carefully timed to mesh with the exit of Davlantes, considered one of the station's brightest stars, and draw focus away from losing such a promising talent.

Stafford joined WMAQ in 2007, as a weekend anchor and general assignment reporter. Prior to joining WMAQ, Stafford was a Chicago-based correspondent for NBC's news magazine "Dateline." Previous to "Dateline," Stafford was a consumer reporter and anchor at CBS-owned WBBM-Channel 2.

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

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