ABC Chicago’s 10pm sports anchor Mark Giangreco has long been known as one of the best in the country at his highly competitive job. Nightly local news comes on at 10pm in the Central Time Zone, before most people have gone to bed, rather than at the somnolent 11pm on the coasts. So sportscasters are huge stars in places like Chicago. And Giangreco was perhaps the top local talent of his generation.
But he appears to be out of his job after having a bit of fun at the expense of an apparently black lady news anchor on his show. From RobertFeder.com:
Now it can be told: Veteran Chicago sports anchor Mark Giangreco may be on the verge of losing his job at ABC-owned WLS-Channel 7 because he used the word “ditzy” in an on-air comment about news anchor Cheryl Burton.
ABC 7 bosses, Giangreco and his agent continue to stonewall on his unexplained absence for the last five weeks, but multiple sources confirmed Wednesday he’s under fire for a remark at the end of his sports segment January 28.
A recording of the 10 p.m. newscast that night showed Giangreco wrapping up a story about Canadian hockey star Spencer Jenkin painting his house while on roller skates and saying: “Gotta get him a show on DIY Network. We’ll call it ‘House Fix with Sticks,’ and Cheryl can play the ditzy, combative interior decorator. I got it all worked out.”
Sources said Burton complained to management about Giangreco’s comment, resulting in his suspension. Talks are said to be under way that could lead to his termination after 27 years as the station’s top sports anchor. Giangreco has 18 months left on his contract.
Ironically, Giangreco was hired by WLS on a $5 million five year contract in 1994 when sports anchor Tim Weigel was forced out after also having a laugh at his black lady news anchor’s expense.
In a move that stuns his colleagues and angers his fans, an immensely popular sportscaster suddenly finds himself out of a job at Chicago’s top-rated television station.
Named in multiple viewer surveys as “Chicago’s best sports anchor,” he still has more than a year left on his contract when ABC-owned WLS-Channel 7 shoves him out the door without so much as a word of thanks.
“I will dedicate the rest of my career to making them regret that decision,” Tim Weigel declares on his way out.
It was front page news in December 1994 when ABC 7 fired Weigel, a hometown superstar, after a 17-year run as sports anchor (interrupted by a brief experiment as a news anchor).
In a raid that caught nearly everyone by surprise, station boss Joe Ahern lured a younger rising star from rival WMAQ-Channel 5 with a five-year, $5 million guaranteed contract the NBC-owned station couldn’t come close to matching.
That’s how Mark Giangreco landed at “Eyewitness News” 27 years ago.
Weigel’s black anchor lady had the misfortune to ask a dumb question of Bears coach Mike Ditka, who made a funny reply. Weigel included the clip in his wrap-up of funny incidents. Her amour propre was wounded, and Weigel was out the door (perhaps because Giangreco was available).
So this pattern of white guys getting canceled over black women being unable to take a joke has been going on a long time.