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CHICAGO TONIGHT: THE WEEK IN REVIEW Celebrates 40 Years on the Air

A one‐hour special on Friday, January 19 at 7:00 pm will mark JOEL WEISMAN’S final appearance as host

For immediate release
Chicago, IL - December 1, 2017

WTTW announced today that the Emmy Award‐winning weekly series CHICAGO TONIGHT: THE WEEK IN REVIEW will celebrate its 40th anniversary on Friday, January 19, 2018 with a one‐hour special at 7:00 pm. The historic milestone will mark JOEL WEISMAN’s final appearance as host and senior editor of the program, a role he has filled since the show’s inception.

CHICAGO TONIGHT: THE WEEK IN REVIEW is one of WTTW’s signature programs. It helps our audience make sense of the news each week and Joel has done a remarkable job, over an unprecedented four decades, of keeping this program consistently relevant, informative, and engaging. On behalf of all of us at WTTW, I extend our congratulations and thanks.” said Dan Schmidt, President and CEO of WTTW.

CHICAGO TONIGHT: THE WEEK IN REVIEW is the longest‐running series in the history of WTTW, and one of Chicago television’s longest‐running series with a single host or anchor. The January 19 special will celebrate that achievement with special guests and highlights from the past four decades.

“I will be ever grateful for the trust WTTW and its viewers have placed in me each week for 40 years, and it’s gratifying that numerous panelists say their participation gave them visibility, prestige, and a chance to show the public their deep knowledge of Chicago,” said Weisman. “I’ve made many lifelong friends here, and Friday at WTTW was always the highlight of my week. Due to an ever‐increasing number of out‐of‐town family and professional commitments, and after much agonizing, I’ve decided it’s time to pass the baton.”

A lifelong Chicagoan, Weisman has been with WTTW since 1973, when he was a political editor and commentator on WTTW’s first nightly news program, The Public News Center. The idea for The Week in Review was conceived over coffee at the Palmer House Hotel by Weisman, his colleague John Callaway, and then‐WTTW President and CEO William J. McCarter. The 30‐minute conversation series, patterned after McCarter’s seminal program Washington Week in Review, premiered on WTTW on January 20, 1978, and has closed out the week’s schedule ever since.

Throughout the series’s four‐decade history, Weisman, who describes himself as “a reporter, editor, and traffic cop and referee,” welcomed hundreds of reporters to his rotating four‐person weekly panel long before the format was commonplace. From the start, at Weisman’s insistence, the panelists were nonpartisan and diverse and represented print, broadcast, and later, digital media. He rarely missed a show, recalling that he returned only two weeks after heart bypass surgery.

A new host for CHICAGO TONIGHT: THE WEEK IN REVIEW has not been named. The program will continue with hosts from the ranks of Chicago Tonight’s correspondents, several of whom have substituted in the past.

JOEL WEISMAN broke into journalism after graduating from the University of Illinois as a reporter for the storied City News Bureau of Chicago, worked for the Gary Post‐Tribune, was political editor and investigative reporter for the Chicago American (Chicago Today), reporter/columnist and Metropolitan Editor of the Chicago Sun-Times, and Midwest correspondent for The Washington Post. Heʹs won multiple awards including, Emmy Awards, Peter Lisagor, Jacob Scher, and Associated Press awards, and is a member of the Chicago Television Academy’s prestigious Silver Circle. He was twice nominated for the Pulitzer Prize for his investigative reporting. For many years he delivered commentary and news analysis for WGN‐TV. Weisman continues his work as an attorney, specializing in media law.

CHICAGO TONIGHT, now in its 34th season, covers the stories of the day in politics, education, arts and culture, business, science and technology, and is available via broadcast on WTTW11 and WTTW Prime, via live stream on WTTW’s Facebook page, on, as a podcast, and via the PBS/WTTW video app.

WTTW is a premier public media organization committed to creating and presenting unique television and digital media content across four distinct television channels – WTTW11, WTTW Prime, WTTW Create/WTTW WORLD, and WTTW PBS Kids — and on Recognized for award‐winning local and national productions such as CHICAGO TONIGHT, CHECK, PLEASE!, 10 BUILDINGS HOMES, PARKS, and TOWNS THAT CHANGED AMERICA, WEEKEND IN HAVANA WITH GEOFFREY BAER, and SOUNDSTAGE, WTTW presents the very best in public affairs, arts and culture, nature and science, history and documentary, and children’s programming. Connect with WTTW on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Instagram.