Twenty years after WMAQ Chicago got out of the noon news business, it’s about to get back in. Nothing is official yet, but the NBC-owned station is expected to name Marion Brooks solo anchor of a new newscast to air at noon Monday through Friday, starting soon after Labor Day.
ABC’s WLS, Chicago’s most-watched news operation since the mid-1980s, on Thursday led longtime also-ran WBBM at 10 p.m. by just 7,000 homes. Among viewers age 25 to 54, closely watched by advertisers, WMAQ enjoyed a nominal advantage over WLS of one-tenth of a rating point.
After a long spell of not touting its news operation, NBC’s Chicato O&O WMAQ is moving to burnish its image, even as competing stations are coming on strong in the news ratings. The brand makeover will play out in stages over the next several months and will eventually touch almost every aspect of the station from the website to the look of the newscasts.
The Chicago NBC O&O will offer expanded coverage on Nov. 2 on both its main channel and multicast ch. 5.2 plus live streaming on its NBCChicago.com.