Here’s to you, Robin Robinson: The real deal
No, veteran Chicago news anchor Robin Robinson is not on her way out at Fox Chicago, as an amateur blogger reported two weeks ago and reiterated Friday.
On the other hand, Robinson hasn’t actually signed a contract renewal either, as the Chicago Tribune reported on its website Thursday and recapped in the newspaper Friday.
What’s really going on? Robinson, 54, who’s about to mark her 25th year as main news anchor at Fox Chicago, had been weighing a one-year contract renewal offer since before the erroneous story about her ouster was posted June 22. Her bosses wouldn't comment on the report (which was attributed to “multiple inside sources”) because they said they considered the website unworthy of their attention. After that, no legitimate media picked up the false rumor.
Robinson, who was on vacation the following week, met with her bosses Monday and agreed to terms of the new deal with a handshake. Although the agreement still must be reviewed by lawyers and signed by both sides before it’s official, the Tribune reported it as a done deal Thursday.
Reached at home Friday, Robinson declined to comment, citing her company’s strict prohibition against unauthorized communication with outside media. But Robinson told friends she was baffled by the misinformation surrounding her negotiations and never had any reason to believe she wasn’t going to remain at Fox Chicago. Nevertheless, there won’t be any toasting until everything is finalized. “Robin is superstitious,” a close friend said. “She doesn’t want to celebrate until it’s formally done.”
Considering that Robinson’s previous contracts were multiyear deals, her latest one-year renewal could hardly be deemed a strong vote of confidence from general manager Mike Renda and news director Phyllis Schwartz. The Nielsen handwriting may be on the wall: Fox Chicago’s late news currently averages a 1.9 household rating and 3 percent share. Among viewers in the critical 25-to-54 age demo, it averages a 0.9 rating and 3 share.
But regardless of her bosses’ future plans for Robinson and 9pm anchor partner Bob Sirott, at least Robinson knows she’ll reach a rare milestone in broadcasting history: August 3 will mark 25 years to the day that she debuted on Fox-owned WFLD-Channel 32’s as its main news anchor. (With her for the 1987 launch were co-anchor Kris Long, meteorologist Dan Dobrowolski and sports anchor Bruce Wolf.)
“Everybody said I’d disappear if I went over to Fox,” Robinson told me a few years after making the leap from CBS 2, where she'd been a reporter and weekend anchor. “To build something was not such an undesirable prospect for me. It’s kind of exciting around here.”