Shake-Up at Chicago’s WMAQ: Anchor Quits, Another is Promoted

By Andrew Gauthier 

May 19: Anchor Warner Saunders retires
June 11: Anchor Bob Sirott leaves station
July 29: Anchor Anna Davlantes leaves station
July 30: Rob Stafford assumes anchor chair

It has been a summer of change and uncertainty for Chicago’s WMAQ. The Chicago Tribune is reporting today that long-time “Dateline” correspondent Rob Stafford will be the new co-anchor of the 10 p.m. news.

Stafford will join Allison Rosati at the 10 p.m. news desk, taking over a position that was vacated when Warner Saunders retired in May after 29 years at the station. Previously, it was expected that Saunders would be succeeded by Bob Sirott, a veteran Chicago radio and television personality and former CBS News correspondent. Sirott, though, had different plans and ended up leaving the station, allegedly over a contract dispute.

According to the Chicago Tribune, “Sources say a clause already in Sirott’s current multi-year contract assured him of the 10 p.m. broadcast opening, but the added title would have come with a pay increase and the station sought to shorten the guaranteed terms in exchange.”

While it appears that Sirott left because of a conflict over compensation, it is not yet clear as to why anchor Anna Davlantes left the station this week. Davlantes had been with the station for nine years and there is speculation that she was unhappy that a more prominent role had not emerged for her. The Chicago Sun-Times is reporting that “Davlantes is said to have wanted a more visible anchor role at WMAQ than the weekend anchor slot she was in, and was frustrated that another role had not been forthcoming.” Davlantes’s official departure followed over a day of uncertainty at the station with conflicting reports about whether Davlantes was continuing negotiotions with the station or leaving. More…

Rob Stafford is set to become the anchor of WMAQ’s 5, 6, and 10 p.m. newscasts on August 10. At least for now, anyway.