It’s over and out for Jon Kelley after two unhappy years as co-anchor of the low-rated “Good Day Chicago” on Fox-owned WFLD-Channel 32.
“We want to thank Jon for his many contributions to 'Good Day' and wish him much success in his future endeavors,” Dennis Welsh, vice president and general manager of Fox 32, said in a statement Thursday.
Kelley, 50, was a sports anchor at NBC-owned WMAQ-Channel 5 in the 1990s and later worked for the syndicated magazine show “Extra” and Fox Sports Network. He returned to Chicago in a wave of new hires at Fox 32 in 2013 from KNTV-TV, the NBC station in San Francisco, where he’d been morning anchor.
Within a year, Kelley was bumped to earlier hours, co-anchoring with newcomer Melody Mendez from 4:30 to 7 a.m. Replacing them from 7 to 10 a.m. were Fox 32 veterans Corey McPherrin and Darlene Hill.
"I have decided it's time for me to embark on a new adventure,” Kelley said Thursday. “I want to thank Fox 32 for supporting me in achieving this goal."
“Good Day Chicago” has been a colossal failure in the ratings with a revolving door of executive producers in recent years. The latest to take over is Dan Salamone, former news director of CBS affiliate WOIO-TV and MyNetworkTV affiliate WUAB-TV in Cleveland.
“Growing the ratings in this time period is a big challenge and very important to the company,” Salamone said when he was hired last month.
On Thursday Fox 32 announced it had hired George Smith, a former anchor and reporter at Salamone’s last station, starting October 12. He is expected to succeed Kelley. Smith, who’d worked at WOIO since 2013, was not renewed last May. He previously was a reporter for ESPN in Chicago and Washington, D.C.
Speculation about changes to “Good Day Chicago” were fueled by Salamone’s hiring and by the appearance twice in recent weeks of Sun-Times film critic Richard Roeper at the station, where he taped tryouts for an undisclosed role on the morning show.