Jan 26, 2023 - News

Test Drive: WTTW's new "Chicago Tonight" 10pm newscast

Photo of two news anchors standing in front of a television camera.

Photo courtesy of WTTW.

This week's Test Drive reviews WTTW's flagship public affairs program "Chicago Tonight."

The backstory: The program's start time moved this week from 7pm to 10pm, competing with the other late newscasts.

  • For a rabid news viewer like me, this change was like an early Christmas! Could "Chicago Tonight" pry me away from Allison Rosati and Brant Miller's weather photos?

The format: It's not much of a change, just 30 minutes shorter. Hosts Brandis Friedman and Paris Schutz bring us headlines, produced features and panel discussions.

  • The pace is slower than the other 10pm newscasts, but also refreshingly free of the usual first 10 minutes of violence porn.

Other highlights: The first night featured an all-star panel of attorney Tom DeVore and state Rep. Bob Morgan arguing over the assault weapons ban.

Lowlight: They misspelled "halt" on the screen during one segment. Not a big deal, but we expect those mistakes from the folks down the dial, not WTTW.

  • Also, no sports stories, which perpetuates the "egghead" vibe on public TV.

Yes, but: The show ends conveniently at 10:27pm, which gives me time to switch over to Jim Rose on ABC-7. Win/win.

The bottom line: I give the experience 📺📺📺📺 (out of five). "Chicago Tonight" is a great local news show and a fine replacement for your favorite 10pm newscasts.

  • Now would it kill them to feature weather photos?

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