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Bob Sirott Hired By WFLD-TV... Again

Bob Sirott is returning to TV News and returning to WFLD-TV, beginning two weeks from today, July 19th. WFLD-TV finally confirmed the much-rumored and much-anticipated news this afternoon, with a short press release on its website, after many weeks of denials.

This is Sirott's second go-round with WFLD-TV. For close to six years, between 1994 and 2000, he was the co-host of WFLD's morning show, "Fox Thing in the Morning." His co-host for much of those years was Marianne Murciano, who ended up becoming his co-host in real life. The two were wed in 1999.

For this go-round with WFLD, Sirott will now co-anchor the "Fox Chicago News at 9" with veteran WFLD anchor Robin Robinson.

This is the latest in a very long line of hirings & firings at WFLD/Fox Chicago's news department, all with the hope of raising the station's extremely low news ratings. So far, none of the moves have generated much viewer interest, although this latest hire is the highest profile one yet.

Today's announcement does not comes as a surprise to most. It was first mentioned as a strong probability back on May 7th by Chicago Public Media's local media blogger. WFLD-TV officials denied that early report at the time. Last week, Chicago Tribune media columnist, Phil Rosenthal announced that a deal between WFLD & Sirott was expected any day now.

Bob Sirott was the biggest "free agent" Chicago news anchor available. Just over one year ago, he walked away from WMAQ-TV where he was set to take over as the lead new co-anchor of the station's 10:00pm newscast, replacing the retiring Warner Saunders. However, when WMAQ-TV management tried to renegotiate down Sirott's already signed contract, prior to his start as 10:00pm anchor, Sirott chose to exercise an escape clause in his contract rather than take less than originally offered. WMAQ still had to pay Sirott the balance of the original contract, too. Since Sirott's departure, WMAQ-TV's 10:00pm news ratings have deeply dropped. The newscast that once challenged WLS-TV for first place, now finds itself struggling to keep out of third place, neck & neck with WBBM-TV, both of whom are now far behind WLS-TV's ratings dominance.

In the past year, Bob Sirott has enjoyed some vacations and worked part-time for WGN-AM. He lost his one-hour "Noon Show" due to budget cuts in January of this year, but continues to host the one-hour "Sunday Night Radio Special" along with his wife, Marianne Murciano, for the station. He also has been the key fill-in for WGN-AM morning show host Greg Jarrett, when he is away, and does occasional voice-over work for them.

Bob Sirott has been a top talent on both Chicago radio & television since the early 70's. He started in radio, first as a part-time DJ on WBBM-FM in the summer of 1971, and then became a full-time DJ on WLS-AM in 1973. He quickly went from "Who is that guy on WLS?" to one of the iconic radio station's top jocks. He left WLS and radio in 1980 to pursue a television career.

As an NBC-TV/WMAQ-TV page during high school, Sirott always had a love for the television business. Starting in 1980, he was a featured reporter for WBBM-TV for five years. He won the Peter Lisagor Award for his reporting on the death of John Lennon in his first year at WBBM. That job eventually led to a national job with CBS-TV on the magazine show "West 57th" and occasional reports for CBS' "Sunday Morning" program. A few years later, he joined WMAQ-TV as anchor for their Noon newscast, and then as co-host for "First Thing In The Morning," WMAQ's popular morning show. WFLD then stole him away for the aforementioned "Fox Thing in the Morning." After leaving Fox, Sirott joined WTTW to take over as host of Monday-Thursday "Chicago Tonight" program and the Friday version of the show, the simply-named "Friday Night Show." A few years later, Sirott was back with WMAQ-TV, anchoring various afternoon and evening newscasts for the station. He had expected to be there for many years to come.

This latest move by Bob Sirott to WFLD will pair him with Robin Robinson for the first time, but re-unites him with Anna Davlantes, WFLD's contributing anchor for the 9:00pm newscast. Sirott & Davlantes often co-anchored on WMAQ together.

This move also speeds along the exit of "Fox Chicago News at 9's" most recent male co-anchor, Jeff Goldblatt. About six weeks ago, Goldblatt was informed that his contract, which runs through mid-August, will not be renewed. Goldblatt was hired as Robinson's co-anchor in August of 2008, but could not raise the station's bottom-dwelling ratings. Goldblatt is being removed from the air this week and Robinson will anchor the newscast solo (with Davlantes' contributions). He will continue to be paid through the end of his contract next month and may still contribute to WFLD's newscasts for the next month.

Bob Sirott recently made news as the man spearheading the movement to have a Chicago street named after famed Chicago DJ, Dick Biondi. Sirott first helped convince City officials to approve the plan and later, spoke at the unveiling event, which took place on June 29th, happily introducing Biondi to the crowd gathered there. It was a popular Bob Sirott news report on WBBM-TV in 1982, that helped bring Dick Biondi back to Chicago's radio airwaves after a ten year absence.

A lifelong Chicagoan, Bob Sirott is a graduate of Chicago's Columbia College, and he holds a Bachelor's Degree in Communication. He has received numerous Midwest Emmy awards, as well as one national Emmy award. He turns 61 years old in one month.

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