Published on Tuesday, 14 August 2012 16:34
After canceling local weekend mornings newscasts in 2009, WBBM-TV/CBS 2 has decided to bring the newscasts back to their airwaves, starting later next month. The Saturday and Sunday morning newscasts will feature an all-new on-air team.
At a staff meeting in the CBS 2 newsroom earlier today, Bruno Cohen, WBBM-TV President and General Manager, and Jeff Kiernan, WBBM-TV Vice President and News Director, privately made the announcement about the two new hours of newscasts and new broadcast teams. This afternoon, they made the announcement public on their website
The new "CBS 2 Chicago Weekend Morning News" will air each Saturday morning from 8:00am-9:00am, and each Sunday morning from 7:00am-8:00am, beginning on Saturday, September 22nd.
The solo news anchor for the weekend morning newscasts will be Marissa Bailey, with news reports by Courtney Gousman and weather forecasts by Chicago media veteran Ed Curran.
Marissa Bailey is among the new hires this year for WBBM-TV, having joined the station in March
. Bailey, a native of Syracuse, NY, previously worked for the NBC affiliate in Buffalo, NY, WGRZ-TV, from September 2006 until she voluntarily exited at the start of this year. There she worked as a general assignment reporter, mainly for the 11:00pm newscast. She also worked for a while as Sunday morning newscast anchor and as a fill-in anchor. At the same time, she also worked as the 10:00pm news anchor at WNYO-TV (MyTV), WGRZ-TV's sister-station in Buffalo, NY.
Bailey chose to not renew her contract at the station and move to Chicago at the start of this year to be with her longtime boyfriend Michael Gellar, who had accepted a job offer here. Gellar is a former producer at WGRZ-TV, is now an attorney in Chicago. Not wanting to have the relationship be a long distance one, Marissa Bailey hired a Chicago-based agent Joel Weisman and began looking for opportunities in TV news inside the Chicago market. WBBM-TV was quickly interested in this young star from Buffalo and hired her as a general assignment reporter, with thoughts of expanding her work for the station beyond being just a reporter. With today's announcement, WBBM-TV has done just that.
Chicago native Courtney Gousman has been working at WBBM-TV as a freelance general assignment reporter since June. She has been working in TV news since March 2006, most recently as a reporter & fill-in anchor at KSDK-TV in St. Louis. This is her first time working in television in her hometown (not counting her college internship at CLTV in 2003).
Just as the weekend morning newscast is a welcome return for the station, so is it a welcome return for Ed Curran, who previously exited the station as one of its meteorologists in March 2010. Curran is a veteran of local radio and television, having been part of it almost non-stop since the mid-1970's. He started out on north-suburban WEFA-FM (now WXLC-FM) in 1976, moved to WGCI-FM in 1979, moved to WIND-AM in 1983 to be a host & Program Director, and went to WGN-AM in 1986, where he became a household name in Chicago. At WGN-AM, he worked alongside morning superstar Bob Collins and also famously co-hosted "The Al & Ed Show," along with Al Lerner. Curran worked at WLS-AM/FM for a couple of years after leaving WGN-AM at the end of 1994. More recently, he had been doing fill-in work as a newsman at WGN-AM, a guest host on WIND-AM, and was a news anchor at the former WWWN-FM/WIQI-FM/FM News 101.1. Curran is also known for his years on local television. From 1997-1999, he was a Meteorologist and technology reporter for the WGN-TV Morning News. He was a Meteorologist for WMAQ-TV from 1999-2002, before going to WBBM-TV in 2002 as their morning/fill-in Meteorologist and station Technology reporter. As part of station-wide cutbacks, he was released in March 2010, but paid through the end of his contract, which ended in May 2011. In May of this year, he returned to CBS 2
, but only in a freelance, part-time, fill-in basis, helping out with morning and weekend evening weather forecasts. He now has been officially rehired by the station.
In April 2009, after years of low ratings and struggling revenue, WBBM-TV was forced to aggressively swing the budget ax. Numerous employees were released, including Howard Sudberry, Joanie Lum, Bill Zwecker, and Todd Woolman. Some, like news anchor Anne State, were knocked down to part-time before later releasing them. At that time, CBS 2 also cut out its weekend morning newscasts, believing they cost more to produce than the revenue they brought in. With early morning newscasts becoming very important to local television stations in recent years, as both informational for viewers and revenue streams for owners, WBBM-TV felt the time was right to bring back the morning newscasts to the weekend schedule.
The new Saturday morning 8:00am newscasts will only have competition locally from WLS-TV/ABC 7, who also airs a local newscast at the same time. On Sunday mornings at 7:00am, WBBM-TV will be the only live & local newscast on Chicago television. (Of course, these are barring any changes to scheduling in the next month by local competitors.)
In today's announcement, Jeff Kiernan said: "Our hard work is paying off and viewers are responding to our efforts. By returning to local weekend morning newscasts this fall, we look forward to serving an even larger audience."
Updated 8/15/12 with corrected information on Ed Curran's career.
Courtney Gousman, Marissa Bailey, and Ed Curran. (CBS file photo)