Lazare: Chet Coppock/Mark Giangreco; Fox Chicago News ratings; New ABC7 News program

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Posted by Bud on November 27, 2009 at 08:32:58:

Unlikely buddies prove good sports

Coppock's book helped by man who took his job

November 27, 2009
BY LEWIS LAZARE | Chicago Sun-Times

It can't be denied. Chicago sports broadcaster -- and author -- Chet Coppock is a good sport not only about sports, which he obviously loves and has reported on for decades on Chicago radio and television. But also about himself, who, thankfully, he doesn't take too seriously. And about Channel 7 lead sportscaster Mark Giangreco, who has remained a good friend of Coppock's since Giangreco slipped into the lead sports anchor chair at WMAQ-Channel 5 after Coppock was fired from that $300,000-a-year job back in 1983.

Instead of getting furious and refusing to ever speak to Giangreco again, however, Coppock bonded with his WMAQ replacement, and their friendship has lasted and deepened to this day.

Giangreco now has a good sense of what Coppock is all about, and that shines through brilliantly in the WLS sports anchor's forward to Coppock's new book, Fat Guys Shouldn't Be Dancin' at Halftime (Triumph Books, 288 pgs., $14.95), which is composed of 98 short chapters about many of the characters and the teams that are part of the Chicago sports world past and present.

It's a fun read that oozes with some of the biting wit Coppock has been known to exhibit. In a Q-&-A with himself at the end of the book, for instance, Coppock asks: "What do you find most exciting about closing the book?" His answer: "Easy. Collecting the second half of my advance and making plans for my first appearance at Borders on State Street. Is Borders aware of that?"

In his forward to the book, Giangreco readily proves he's no slouch in the wit department either, as he deftly lays bare the essence of Coppock the man and the broadcaster: "The self-proclaimed 'Circus Barker of Sports,' Chet was a showman through and through with an uncanny knack for knowing exactly what the people wanted. Whether it was the Super Bowl, the World Series or the NBA finals, he treated every 'hallowed' event the same way . . . like pro wrestling. Chet flourished during the golden age of television, the ostentatious '80s. His full-length fur coat served as the AstroTurf of sports journalism." Great stuff!

WFLD loses ratings bump

The Nielsen overnight ratings bump-up that new contributing anchor and reporter Anna Davlantes possibly helped bring to WFLD-Channel 32's 9 p.m. newscast on Monday had quickly lost a lot of its bump by Tuesday night, when Channel 32 was back down in more familiar ratings territory. On Tuesday, Davlantes' second night working WFLD's 9 p.m. newscast, the show's rating had dropped sharply to a 2.4 from the 3.9 rating Monday night, when Davlantes made her debut. WGN-Channel 9 pulled a 3.1 overnight rating for its 9 p.m. news on Tuesday.

'Heart and Soul'

Harry Porterfield's recent exit from WLS-Channel 7 was, according to WLS executives, the impetus for the ABC outlet to develop a new show called "Heart & Soul" that will debut Dec. 19 at 6 p.m. Subsequent editions of show will air on a quarterly basis. Station executives describe "Heart & Soul" as a "fresh, fast-paced series that captures the essence of the African-American culture as it relates to the great city of Chicago." The series will showcase a rotating team of Channel 7 on-air talent, including Cheryl Burton and Hosea Sanders, who will host the debut program.

"Heart & Soul" producer is Rubye Wilson, a native Chicagoan who grew up on the South Side and produced WLS' "People, Places & Things," which had been hosted by Porterfield.

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