The growth of WGN-Channel 9’s late-afternoon news block will mean more time for anchors Mark Suppelsa and Micah Materre and a move to early mornings for Lourdes Duarte.
Starting September 8, the Tribune Broadcasting station will add an hour of news at 4 p.m. weekdays, boosting its output to a record 61 hours of live local news each week.
Suppelsa and Materre, who now anchor together at 9 p.m., also will front the expanded WGN Evening News from 4 to 6 p.m. along with chief meteorologist Tom Skilling. Sarah Jindra will report traffic.
Duarte, who has been anchoring the hourlong 5 p.m. newscast with Suppelsa, will shift to anchoring with Dan Ponce from 4 to 6 a.m. weekdays. While moving to the top-rated WGN Morning News portends good things for the charismatic Duarte, it breaks up the unmistakable chemistry of Suppelsa and Duarte, arguably the best combo at the station.
Duarte succeeds Erin McElroy on the early-morning anchor desk alongside Ponce. McElroy, who recently announced her engagement to WGN morning meteorologist Demetrius Ivory, will continue to report traffic and breaking news on the show.
“The way people consume news has changed and breaking news is becoming more important to our viewers,” news director Jennifer Lyons said in a statement Tuesday. “WGN News, as Chicago’s Very Own, will continue to be there live when news happens. By expanding our evening news we will better serve our viewers.”