Robservations: Countdown shows to battle for New Year’s Eve viewers

Mark Giangreco and Janet Davies

Robservations on the media beat:

New Year’s Eve Live in Chicago

It’s not too early to start making your TV viewing plans for New Year’s Eve. Mark Giangreco and Janet Davies will mark their 18th year of ringing in the New Year together when they host “Countdown Chicago 2019” on ABC-owned WLS-Channel 7. Joining them from venues around the city and suburbs will be ABC 7’s Terrell Brown, Cheryl Scott, Liz Nagy, Val Warner and Ryan Chiaverini. Highlights will include the third annual Giant Pierogi Drop presented by the Knights of Columbus in Whiting, Indiana. Over on NBC-owned WMAQ-Channel 5, Marion Brooks, Siafa Lewis and Chris Hush will host "New Year’s Eve Live in Chicago!" Joining them will be Christopher “Fred” Frederick of Kiss FM, Ally Sturm of Big 10 Network and Ji Suk Yi from "The Grid" at the Sun-Times. Also featured will be musical performances by Nick Gehlfuss of "Chicago Med" and Joe Minoso of "Chicago Fire." Both specials will start shortly after 11 p.m. and culminate with midnight fireworks from Navy Pier.

NBC Sports Chicago

While the Cubs still appear headed their own way (possibly in partnership with Sinclair Broadcast Group), NBC Sports Chicago is close to renewing its agreement with the White Sox, Bulls and Blackhawks, according to multiple reports. The regional sports network’s current partnership with its teams ends in October 2019. “Negotiations remain ongoing,” said a spokesman for NBC Sports Chicago. Earlier Tuesday Bruce Levine, baseball analyst for Entercom sports/talk WSCR 670-AM, reported that announcement of an agreement on a new network “will come soon.”

Dan Sinker

Dan Sinker has been named inaugural fellow of the Center for Journalism Integrity & Excellence at DePaul University. Starting in January he will teach classes and engage with students about innovation and ethics in journalism. Sinker was founder of Punk Planet magazine and previously taught journalism at Columbia College Chicago. In 2011 he anonymously wrote the @MayorEmanuel satirical Twitter account before outing himself. "There are few people who can have one foot in the traditional journalism world while using the other foot to kick creative boundaries to new, dynamic levels of communication,” said Carol Marin, who co-directs the center with Don Moseley. “Dan has created new ways to talk politics, culture and journalism. Hooray that he joins us at DePaul.”

Terry Boers

Terry Boers, who retired in January 2017 after 25 years at WSCR 670-AM, will turn up as fill-in host from 1 to 6 p.m. three days next week at the Entercom sports/talk station. On December 24 and 28, he'll co-host with Matt Spiegel, and on December 27 he'll co-host with Steve Rosenbloom. "We’ll have some fun," Boers tweeted.

Kalee Dionne

Kalee Dionne, weekend morning meteorologist at WMAQ-Channel 5, finally revealed why she’s been missing in action from the NBC-owned station for weeks. On Tuesday Dionne announced that she and her husband, Jonathan Pair, have adopted a daughter. “Mila is loved by so many already and I'm so excited to see where her story goes over the years,” Dionne wrote on social media. “Thank you all for the love and support, and I'll be back on NBC sometime this spring. Now I need to soak up all the snuggles I can get because she is already growing way too fast.”

Saturday Night Live: The Experience

“Saturday Night Live: The Experience,” which has been drawing crowds to Chicago’s Museum of Broadcast Communications since it opened in October 2017, is extending its run through March 31, 2019. The immersive multimedia exhibition, which takes visitors behind the scenes of the comedy series, had been slated to close at the end of this year. The museum, located at 360 North State Street, will continue its programming throughout the exhibition’s run, including the “Conversations in Comedy” series and other events related to "Saturday Night Live."

Larry Lujack

Tuesday’s comment of the day: Mick Kahler: Five years ago today was an awful day for all of of us who adored and admired Larry Lujack. I was honored to be Lar's producer for his last three years at WLS. I mean how many people can say they worked for their idol? After his retirement in 1987 we continued a special friendship that lasted until his passing. My own radio memoir will be coming out in 2019 and there are many fond and funny stories about my days with the one and only “Superjock.”