CBS 2 ‘glad to restore’ weekend morning newscasts
CBS 2 is getting back into the weekend morning news business, courtesy of the same people who dropped out of it more than three years ago.
Starting September 22, CBS 2 Chicago Weekend Morning News will air from 8 to 9am Saturdays and from 7 to 8am Sundays. Both one-hour newscasts will be anchored by Marissa Bailey, with weather by meterologist Ed Curran.
“It’s an important time period that serves a lot of news viewers,” Bruno Cohen, president and general manager of CBS 2, said in an interview Tuesday. “We reluctantly left it several years ago for financial reasons and we’re glad to restore the service.”
In April 2009, the station canceled its weekend morning newscasts as part of sweeping budget cuts that included the layoffs of at least seven on-air and behind-scenes staffers. At the time, Cohen called the moves “a local decision,” telling the Tribune’s Phil Rosenthal: “We need to aggressively develop the quality of our news programs and simultaneously, because of the economic environment we’re working in, we need to reduce the operating costs of the organization.”
On Tuesday, Cohen said he was certain that the market could sustain a fourth weekend morning newscast (in addition to those already airing on NBC 5, ABC 7 and WGN). “We don’t go into this lightly. We’ve done financial models to make sure it’s something we can afford to do and there’s enough audience to sustain it,” he said.
Cohen said he expected the two one-hour newscasts eventually to be increased, but he offered no time frame for their expansion.
Bailey joined the station as a reporter last March after more than five years as an anchor and reporter at WGRZ-TV in Buffalo, New York. Curran, who left CBS 2 after an eight-year run in 2010, returned on a part-time basis last May. He now moves up to full-time status, including additional weather duties and reporting, Cohen said.
Also working on the Saturday and Sunday morning newscasts will be per-diem reporter Courtney Gousman, who joined the station in June from KSDK-TV in St. Louis.
In announcing the return to weekend mornings, CBS 2 pointed to its late news ratings in May, which rose 14 percent overall and 40 percent among viewers between 25 and 54.
“Our hard work is paying off and viewers are responding to our efforts,” news director Jeff Kiernan said in a statement. “By returning to local weekend morning newscasts this fall, we look forward to serving an even larger audience.”