Published on Wednesday, 25 May 2011 12:39
After many months of planning, hyping and speculation, WLS-TV's brand new locally produced morning show will be finally making its much-heralded debut. "Windy City LIVE" premieres tomorrow morning at 9:00am, taking over the spot previously held by "The Oprah Winfrey Show," which aired its final new episode today .
Unlike Winfrey's show, which was made here in Chicago, but done so for a nationwide audience, "Windy City LIVE" will locally made and only locally aired. As the title of the show clearly emphasizes with the all capital letters, WCL will not be pre-taped, but instead shown live each weekday morning.
The 60-minute show will be a blend of talk, entertainment, and information, mainly focused on what is currently going on in and around Chicagoland. Each show will have numerous guests, which will run the gamut from visiting celebrities to media figures to politicians to local business owners.
The shows' hosts were announced this past February
, before the name of the show itself was even announced. (It was going by the working title of "Morning Rush" before the permanent name of "Windy City LIVE" was decided upon in early March
.) Former WLS-TV sportscaster Ryan Chiaverini and former WGN-TV traffic/news anchor Val Warner will be the main anchors of WCL.
In addition, the program will have a rotating roster of core contributors, who each will have a segment at least once a week. WLS-TV officially announced these contributors this week. All of them are known names to Chicagoans, with Chicago roots. However, some of their segments could be pre-taped and not live. The WCL contributors include:
- Nina Chantele, WGCI-FM/WKCS-FM radio personality. Chantele will be the show's Entertainment Correspondent, giving a weekly roundup of entertainment news. Her first segment will take place on Tuesday, May 31st.
- Roe Conn, WLS-AM personality. Conn will be a twice-a-week current events commentator, with his first segment coming Friday, May 27th.
- Billy Dec, Restaurateur/CEO of Rockit Ranch Productions. Dec will appear every Thursday covering local entertainment, local events, social media, and "buzz" stories.
- Mark DeCarlo, actor/comedian/TV show host. Chicago native DeCarlo returns home to Chicago to act as WCL's "roving reporter," covering human interest events in a humorous fashion. A talented improvisational comedic actor, DeCarlo will be interacting with the public on pre-taped segments and with the hosts on live shots.
Also said to be contributing, but less frequently (and not officially confirmed), will be:
- Richard Roeper, Chicago Sun-Times columnist, WLS-AM personality, Reelz Channel movie reviewer & author. Roeper will do occasional movie reviews and Hollywood discussions for WCL.
- Michelle Menaker, aka "Showbiz Shelly," WBBM-FM personality. Showbiz Shelly will do occasional entertainment/gossip segments for the WCL's audience.
- Hank Mendheim, aka "Frankly Hank
," Senior Producer of "Windy City LIVE" and well-known blogger. "Frankly Hank" will deliver occasional funny commentary on entertainment.
- Ji Suk Yi, Producer for "Windy City LIVE." She will be the Social Media correspondent for the show.
Emily Barr, President and General Manager of WLS-TV said in this week's statement
: "We hope viewers get in the habit of having their second cup of coffee with Windy City LIVE -- checking out what Ryan and Val are up to in the morning, who'll be dropping by, what Chicagoans are buzzing about and the kind of audience surprises that will be revealed each day."
Behind the scenes at WCL... Marlaine Selip is the Executive Producer, Cindy Patrasso is the Supervising Producer, and the aforementioned Hank Mendheim is the Senior Producer. WCL Producers are Dan Barbossa, Mary Hynes, David Plummer and Matt Knutson, along with Producer/Editor Jared Hoffa. The Associate Producers are Jessie Kalin, Dawn Watkins, Ji Suk Yi, Emerald-Jane Hunter and Lynne Wisnesfski. The Director is Greg Klazura.
A giant, new multi-sectioned set has been built exclusively for "Windy City LIVE." It consists of a main section, with a large anchor desk, with room for the two main hosts, plus up to two others. There is a smaller, but taller version of the main desk, with only one seat, that will be a contributor desk. The set has two stages for live music performances, fashion shows, demonstrations, etc. -- one located somewhat behind the main desk and a larger one on the far right side of the set that is elevated almost four feet off the ground. On the far left side of the set is a full, working kitchen set up, for cooking demonstrations. There is a "living room" section with three large comfy chairs, for more casual discussions & interviews. Additionally, there is seating for an audience of 48 people for each show.
Those wishing to be part of the studio audience for a future "Windy City LIVE" program can request tickets by writing to
A new website, WindyCityLIVE.com
launches later this week. Facebook
accounts have already been created and active for a few weeks now.
New Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Chef Art Smith will be the first guests for Windy City Live tomorrow.