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WTTW Press Room


For Immediate Release
March 17, 2009

WTTW11's Chicago Tonight to Celebrate 25th Anniversary

Chicago Tonight, WTTW's highly regarded nightly newsmagazine, will mark its 25th anniversary in April with a benefit gala at the Harris Theater for Music and Dance.

This milestone celebration will be held on Friday, April 17, and will be hosted by Saturday Night Live alum Tim Kazurinsky. Performers will include gospel and soul legend Mavis Staples, Billy Corgan of Smashing Pumpkins, chart-topping a cappella group Straight No Chaser (Holiday Spirits), the top brass from the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, 7-year-old piano prodigy Emily Bear, nationally acclaimed artists from the Music Institute of Chicago, performers from The Second City, and other surprise guests.

In addition, Straight No Chaser will provide entertainment during the intimate post-event reception.

Chicago Tonight was the vision of two legendary Chicago journalists - its original host John Callaway and political analyst and broadcaster Bruce DuMont. In 1984, during Council Wars, WTTW's then-President Bill McCarter agreed to launch a nightly news analysis program and on April 24th, Chicago Mayor Harold Washington was the program's first guest.

In the years since, a virtual who's who of Chicago's political, business, journalism, entertainment and sports communities as well as countless national newsmakers have appeared on Chicago Tonight. Callaway's tenure as host lasted 15 years, until June 1999, when he relinquished the role to Phil Ponce. Ponce has remained with the show as its lead anchor sharing on-air duties for a time with Bob Sirott. Under the leadership of WTTW's current President and CEO Dan Schmidt, the program expanded from 30 minutes to a full hour in November 2002, allowing it to broaden its coverage of Chicago and the surrounding region.

"When Chicago Tonight started twenty five years ago, no one could have guessed how valuable it would become to an audience that has grown more and more diverse," said Schmidt.  "It remains timely, smart and the go-to local TV show for making sense of the day's events.  Kudos to the staff and on-air talent over the years for all they've done to create something enduring and unique."

For more information about Chicago Tonight's 25th anniversary celebration at the Harris Theater, or to purchase tickets, please call (773) 509-5525 or visit www.wttw.com/celebration2009.

About WTTW11 For more than 50 years, audiences have turned to WTTW11 for distinctive programming that informs, inspires, educates, and entertains. It reaches two million weekly viewers over a four-state area, making it the most-watched public television station in America. Recognized for its award-winning local and national productions, WTTW11 is committed to presenting the very best in cultural, nature, science, public affairs, and children's programming across its four distinct television channels: WTTW11, WTTW Prime, its Spanish-language channel V-me, and WTTW Create. For more information about WTTW programming across all its platforms, please visit our web site at www.wttw.com.

Contact:
Shaunese Teamer
(773) 509-5441

 
       
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