The ABC-owned Chicago station WLS-TV Channel 7 has canceled Windy City Live, a daytime talk show that replaced The Oprah Winfrey Show 10 years ago. The show's last episode will be produced on Sept. 3, its final airing, WLS-TV president and general manager John Idler said in an email obtained by Robert Feder last week. Windy City Live is produced by WLS-TV and hosted by Val Warner and Ryan Chiaverini.
"As we continue to navigate through our industry's challenging times, we have had to make a tough business decision to sunset the daily airing of Windy City Live," Idler wrote in his letter to staffers. "I want to thank the outstanding WCL producers and production crew for their tireless commitment to making a decade of great television. WCL's impactful storytelling and community outreach exceeded all our expectations when we launched the show in 2011."
Warner and Chiaverini have hosted the show since it launched in 2011. They are both expected to stay at the network, but 10 full-time jobs and several freelance positions could be in jeopardy, Feder reports. After the last Windy City Live episode airs, Warner and Chiaverini will host Windy City Weekend, a half-hour show covering weekend events and activities in Chicago. The show will air Fridays at 11:30 a.m. beginning on Sept. 10. They will also host quarterly specials. WSL-TV has not announced what will take the 1 p.m. weekdays slot.
Windy City Live debuted in May 2011, weeks after The Oprah Winfrey Show ended. It took over the 9 a.m. timeslot, but was later moved to 11 a.m., and then to 1 p.m. The show was filmed in front of a studio audience at WSL-TV's headquarters. The show did well in local ratings, and is thought to have generated revenue through its sponsored content, Feder reports.
The show built up a dedicated fanbase in Chicago. Back in June 2019, the Chicago Tribune interviewed several fans who attended multiple tapings, earning the nickname "Windies." One fan, Quedell "Q" Paramore, told the Tribune he attended over 100 tapings between late 2017 and 2019. "Ryan and Val, that's my sister and brother. You know, we're family," Paramore said of the show's hosts. "They're so loving and warm and just down-to-earth. What you see with the camera on is (the same as) with the camera off."
"The free things are nice, but we really just enjoy the time to get out and talk about daily topics and to talk about Chicago events," Corren Evans told the Tribune in 2019. "We've met really interesting people, a lot of local people. We've really enjoyed that they highlight Chicago — Chicago places and people that you ordinarily don't see on all the other TV shows."