Posted by chicagomedia.org on July 22, 2009 at 16:19:28:
Mike Barz out at WFLD
Mike Barz, co-anchor of Fox-owned WFLD-Ch. 32's "Good Day Chicago," is no longer with the station, a WFLD spokeswoman confirmed Wednesday.
Barz, a former WGN-Ch. 9 sportscaster who joined Channel 32 in 2007 from ABC's "Good Morning America," has been off the air since last Wednesday while WFLD investigated allegations of misconduct at an off-site July 10th party for health reporter Margaret Shortridge, whose contract was not renewed, according to sources.
Those interviewed by Channel 32's human resources department said the investigation centered on Barz's interaction with a fellow employee at the party.
The station confirmed an investigation but not its substance or findings, citing privacy issues.
Barz could not be reached Wednesday for immediate comment.
Former Channel 32 morning co-anchor David Novarro, now co-anchor of the station's 10 p.m. newscast, is seen as the front-runner to replace Barz opposite Jan Jeffcoat on "Good Day Chicago." Another candidate is Patrick Elwood, who has been substituting for Barz.
Pat Mullen, WFLD's vice president and general manager, on July 10th told the Chicago Tribune that he expected Novarro to leave Channel 32 after nine years in September with the station discontinuing the 10 p.m. newscast and Novarro's contract set to expire.
Sources said that with Barz's exit, it's likely the station now will ask Novarro to stay.
The Chicago Sun-Times in September 2007 reported Barz was taken off the air briefly just two days after WFLD's rebranding of his morning newscast to "Good Day Chicago" from "Fox News in the Morning." According to the Sun-Times, the station was investigating allegations of misconduct involving a fellow employee at an off-site going-away party for a production assistant.
Barz was hired by Channel 32 six months earlier after two years as a features correspondent and fill-in weathercaster for ABC News' "Good Morning America" in New York. He previously spent seven years as morning sports anchor at Chicago Tribune parent Tribune Co.'s Channel 9.
A graduate of Indiana University, he also worked as a feature reporter and anchor for WLUK-TV in Green Bay, anchor for WHBF-TV in the Quad Cities and as a producer for Intersport Television.
(Phil Rosenthal, Chicago Tribune)
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