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News Television

Block Club Chicago Launching Weekly Show on CW26

“On the Block” will be hosted by journalist Brandon Pope and Jon Hansen will serve as coordinating producer. 

Ryan Hedrick

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CW 26 in Chicago is teaming up with news organization Block Club Chicago to launch a weekly half-hour show dedicated to covering more than 100 neighborhoods in Chicagoland in-depth and in long-form. 

According to the organization’s website, “On the Block” will be hosted by journalist Brandon Pope and Jon Hansen will serve as coordinating producer. 

“Our partnership with Block Club Chicago affirms our commitment to producing diverse local content that represents the city as a whole; it also gives us an opportunity to be innovative within the local news landscape,” said Afua Owusu, Director of News & Local Content for CW26 and The U. 

The show will tell stories of people often ignored by legacy media, according to Shamus Toomey, publisher and one of three co-founders of Block Club. “We are absolutely thrilled to team up with Weigel Broadcasting and get these stories out to a wider audience.”

“On the Block” airs on The U at 7 p.m. Thursdays, 8 a.m. Saturdays and 11 a.m. Sundays. The program is broadcast on CW26 at 10 a.m. Saturdays and on WWME/ME TV Chicago at 7 a.m. Sundays. An encore of the prior week’s episode airs on The U at 7:30 p.m. Thursdays.

“Social media has played an important role in how people access the news, and with ‘On the Block’ we are taking some of the visually compelling themes and amplifying those for television. You won’t see any anchors reading a copy behind a desk,” added Owusu. 

The show will make its debut in April. 

News Television

Melissa Francis Details Fox News Exit to Megyn Kelly

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Former Fox News and Fox Business host Melissa Francis says she was fired seconds before she was supposed to go on the air. Francis appeared Friday with her attorney on The Megyn Kelly Show to talk about her 2020 departure from Fox. Francis, who joined Fox Business in 2012 and later became a host on Fox News, said she brought up the issue of pay disparity with the then-general counsel at Fox, Dianne Brandi.

“You have to understand that at the time there were two screeners from the Screen Actors Guild – Bombshell and The Loudest Voice – and they had actors playing Dianne Brandi behaving illegally towards women in the Roger Ailes situation,” said Francis.

“At the time I assumed she no longer worked at the company,” Francis continued. “When I said I wanted to do my own negotiation, [Fox] sent me an e-mail back saying ‘you’ll be meeting one-on-one with Dianne Brandi. I was shocked because I thought ‘wow, you’re gonna put her in a room alone with a woman to negotiate. I wasn’t even aware she was still here.’ We ended up having a voice conversation. I had actually scripted out exactly I wanted to say because my math and my points – I felt like I wanted to be crystal clear. I didn’t want to misspeak any portion of it at all.”

“We started to small talk. She’s very nice. ‘How are your kids? What’s going on?’  Then she segued right into ‘Are you going to hand this off to somebody else? It’s not common for talent to do this for themselves,’” Francis recalled in the conversation with Brandi. “I said look, there’s this disparity and basically I laid it out. [Dianne] said ‘whoa, I’m gonna stop you there. This is not the way you want to do this. You do not want to compare yourself to other people.’

“I said ‘no, I’m not comparing myself to other people.’ I’m saying that I’ve collected all this data —  basically how I just explained to you – I went through how I did all the comparisons I came up with and finally she broke in and said, and I wrote down verbatim, ‘that’s how the world works. Women make less than men. That’s just a fact.”

Months after her firing, Francis sued Fox for pay discrimination. It was settled in June. Fox paid Francis $15 million.

“It does seem impossible that a lawyer would say such a reckless thing,” Kelly responded before quoting a statement from a Fox News spokesperson. “Melissa Francis’ version of that conversation is untrue and patently absurd.”

“It is absurd,” Francis said. “I agree with that. It is totally absurd that she would say something like that. I 100% with the fact that it was absurd, and that’s how I felt at the time.”

Later, Francis said she learned of her dismissal from Fox during the pandemic when she was prepared to go on the air from her studio at home.

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News Television

NBC News Adds Sacramento, Washington D.C. Correspondents

On Thursday, NBC News announced the additions of two new correspondents as the network added Dana Griffin and Marissa Parra.

Eduardo Razo

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On Thursday, NBC News announced the additions of two new correspondents as the network added Dana Griffin and Marissa Parra.

Griffin will be based in Sacramento; meanwhile, Parra will be heading to Washington, D.C. As part of their new roles with the network, both will appear across NBC News and MSNBC platforms.

After spending time as a reporter and fill-in anchor for NBC7 in San Diego, Griffin heads to the national media stage, where she tweeted her excitement to start the new position. 

Griffin is familiar with the Northern California market as she spent nearly three years reporting for KCRA in Sacramento and was a weekend anchor and reporter for KIEM-TV up in Eureka.

Parra joins NBC News from CBS2 in Chicago after spending three years as a general assignment reporter. Parra will also be heading to a market she knows after spending three years as a freelance producer for ABC News’ Washington, D.C. bureau.

“A lifelong dream,” Parra tweeted on Thursday. “I’ll be an NBC Correspondent covering the same states I once called home. See you soon, East Coast!”

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News Television

Ari Melber Refers to Fox News as ‘MAGA Snowflake Bubble’

The MSNBC host had a guest to discuss the topic, but before he tossed it over to the attorney and former FBI agent Asha Rangappa, Melber took a shot at the network.

Eduardo Razo

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MSNBC host Ari Melber went after Fox News and its contributor Lara Trump, appearing on the network criticizing a lawsuit by the New York attorney general against her family’s company.

On Wednesday, New York AG Letitia James publicized a $250 million suit against the Trump Organization, accusing them of overinflating assets to get low-interest loans.

The MSNBC host had a guest to discuss the topic, but before he tossed it over to the attorney and former FBI agent Asha Rangappa, Melber took a shot at the network.

Melber referred to Fox News (h/t Mediaite) as a “MAGA snowflake bubble where you’re not going to be triggered. You’re not going to be pressed and shout out to anyone who needs a bubble. You know you can live in a snowflake bubble if you want.”

Neither side is immune to these types of criticisms when having people of Trump’s status where a rival network believes that the host isn’t asking the tough questions. 

Fox News has done this in the past when members of the Biden administration go on CNN or MSNBC. 

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