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End Of An Era For A Chicago TV News Legend And The Cutthroat Nature Of The Business

by Sergio
October 28, 2013 7:08 PM
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Though this may seem at first to be of little importance to anyone who doesn’t live or has lived in Chicago, there is a larger issue here worth addressing.

For those in Chicago, the name Robin Robinson will be an all-too familiar one. Suffice it to say that she could be called a genuine TV legend.

For the past 26 years since 1987 she has been the anchor for the Fox network's local Chicago station (WFLD Fox 32) nightly newscast, and her career goes back even longer than that, starting out as a reporter and weekend news anchor for the CBS owned Chicago station WBBM TV for a couple of years, before moving on to Fox.

She has co-anchored the Fox newscast with six male co-anchors who have come and gone over the years, but Robinson was the one true constant; and considering she’s been anchoring and reporting news events for almost 30 years, that’s quite a remarkable achievement. There are very few people working today who can claim a career such as hers.

However it’s been revealed that it will all come to an end soon.

Veteran Chicago media reporter Robert Feder reported today that Fox will soon force Robinson out of her anchor chair, most likely after the November ratings sweeps, and will severely reduce her on-air appearances on the news to a once or twice week “special report."

That is if she accepts it. 

She could very possibly refuse her new limited position, and move on to other pastures. Considering that she’s been a daily fixture on TV all these years, I’m hard-pressed to believe that she would go along with such a new arrangement, and will instead say adios to Fox.

But, Robinson’s situation is quite similar to what happened last year to Sue Simmons, another veteran African American female news anchor who had been a daily presence on the NBC owned New York station WNBC for 32 years, before she was given the boot by the station, the spring of 2012

Of course television is, as I’ve called it before a cutthroat, take-no-prisoners world, and the very nature of television and how we watch, and increasingly not, is changing. Robinson, as no doubt  was Simmons, are well aware of this fact, and that no matter how successful or how long you work for any network, you are always subject to the particular, and most of the time, nonsensical decisions of station managers and TV execs, who can decide on a whim that you’re not needed anymore.

This is especially cruel considering that there are very few high profile African American women who appear on a regular basis on local Chicago TV. In fact, when I think about it now, Robinson is the only black female anchor currently on Chicago TV. I can’t say what the situation is in New York, Los Angeles or other major cities, but I assume it might be only just slightly better.

Still Robinson is being treated shabbily by her network, and it goes without saying that that, despite all her hard work and all the years she’s devoted to the station, she deserves a hell of a lot better than this.

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  • Annie Andersen | January 12, 2014 9:45 AMReply

    We are SO DONE with your morning news program.....Good people replaced !! Why? Young "yuppies" instead of adults.... we have a saying at our house......" If it ain't broke, don't fix it!" And where is Patrick Elwood? So sad.

  • PnutB | November 22, 2013 2:27 PMReply

    Ill watch her wherever she goes

  • Blackman | November 1, 2013 7:05 PMReply

    With her chain smoking ass, Robin is as real as it gets.

  • al kraatz | October 30, 2013 11:33 PMReply

    My wife and I have been watching the 9pm news on Fox for many years with a hiatus when you forced Bob Sirrott to go elsewhere. You brought him back and he was rightly paired up with Robin who has been the one constant on your news. Then you let Sirrott get away again. Now Robin is being forced out...........what are we loyal viewers to think of this? Loyalty has no place at Fox Chicago.

  • Boomer | October 30, 2013 12:20 PMReply

    Great Anchor, will ask the "tuff" questions, will report from the street of "the hood" and great "eye candy" after a hard day of work.... We're gonna miss you Robin, where ever you land I'm sure Chicago will be watching...

  • DAVID | October 30, 2013 11:13 AMReply

    I grew up watching Robin. This is too bad...

  • Darlene | October 29, 2013 11:44 AMReply

    Jumping ships, hello Channel 9. I'll miss you Robin, my only reason for watching fox.

  • M. Howard | October 29, 2013 10:29 AMReply

    Devastating to hear the news about Robin. She was the last leg FOX had to stand on. And please don't forget Cortney Hall on CLTV's morning news!

  • Louis Byrd III | October 29, 2013 1:36 AMReply

    You are wrong about Robin being the only black female anchor on Chicago TV. Marion Brooks anchors the 4:30p news on WMAQ-Channel 5; Cheryl Burton anchors both 5p and 10p at WLS-Channel 7 and Micah Materre anchors the News at Nine on WGN-Channel 9.

  • sbee3 | October 29, 2013 11:49 AM

    Robin is certainly the longest black female anchor in Chicago, and will be missed for her wide perspectives. Technically, Micah Materre is the only counterpart to Robin in your list as a nightly news anchor role (the top of the local news food chain). Cheryl Burton is not currently the anchor of WLS-7, though sometimes fills in (she previously had the anchor role, but that was given to Kathy Brock who had more tenure). Burton usually has a special nightly report.

  • Shagmond | October 29, 2013 1:12 AMReply

    Well I hate to see her have to go but she has had an AWESOME career there and changes do happen. I can see her hosting a talk show of her own or even greater, but as Walter Payton, Michael Jordan, Michael Jackson, etc. The great ones have their place in history and she definitely will always be known in Chicago for anchoring Fox News Chicago. I wish her the best of luck!

  • Amiel Bee | October 29, 2013 12:45 AMReply

    It is unfortunate to hear that Robin Robinson will possibly leave Chicago broadcasting. When I watched the news on regular basis, she was one of the news anchors that I enjoyed watching. Female anchors are often booted from networks when management feels that they have lost their hotness. I just hope that she is able to bounce back and return to primetime, if she is downsized. I wish her much success on her next endeavor if needed.

  • Avaspeaks | October 29, 2013 12:28 AMReply

    Um, Robin Robinson is NOT the only African American female anchor on Chicago TV. I do not know where you got that information from. Are you from Chicago or watch Chicago news because if you did, how could you make a statement like that?

  • Dwain | October 28, 2013 11:34 PMReply

    Robin Robinson has had an extraordinary career in Chicago for more than two decades. She was also the only reason I ever turned to Fox News. In fact, the only reason that I didn't boycott Fox television totally is because they kept her on the station for so long. That she could be treated this shabbily in Chicago is really a travesty. I'm certain the only reason that there has not been more of an outcry is because people don't know that she was forced out! This decision should not stand.

  • Eartha | October 28, 2013 10:17 PMReply

    Los Angeles is certainly in a worse state, thought that is no excuse. The shift will likely reflect interest in another demographic or a less "ethnic" anchor. One with fewer skills and less clothing...if the national trend holds.

  • Randy | October 28, 2013 8:20 PMReply

    I only watched Fox 32 News because of Robin.

  • What? | October 28, 2013 8:10 PMReply

    I congratulate Robin Robinson on her success, thus far, and her future endeavors. But she's the ONLY Black female anchor on Chicago TV? Now that's terrible, and although I can believe it, I'm going to say "I can't believe that's the case in 2013." :P

  • CareyCarey | October 28, 2013 8:03 PMReply

    Interesting. At the 49th Chicago International Film Festival I met this woman in the hallway outside the showing of "Mister and Pete". Before I even knew who she was someone asked for her autograph. Heck, I thought she must have been someone important (maybe an actor in the film or it's producer), so I persuaded my lady to get us one. Well, she actually was there as the emcee for the George Tillman, Jr. Career Achievement Award... the 17th Annual Black Perspectives Tribute.

    I don't know if meeting her and getting her autograph can match my Ali and Spike stories (and autographs) but it's a good story and the festival was another great experience.

  • CAM Jr | October 28, 2013 7:47 PMReply

    SERGIO, she has held that job on television for TWENTY-SIX years! TWENTY-SIX years! In the real work world, that would be 126 yrs! She should have NO COMPLAINTS! As with ALL things in life, everything MUST change. I suspect NONE of the people who were at the helm of the Chicago newscasts (station general managers, executive producers, etc.) are STILL in those positions. I assure you, if JANE PAULEY can be escorted off The TODAY Show, Miss Robin is in good company. I wish her well. But my heart doesn't bleed for her.

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