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How Mark Giangreco Blew Himself Up

Everybody has weeks they'd just as soon never happened.

Take ABC 7 sports newsie Mark Giangreco, for example. He is now eligible to teach the Medill Masters Class on how to assassinate your own TV career.

If Giangreco does not return from his imposed vacation on Elba, that week for him might be the last week of January 2021. He's been off the air for five weeks with no word, or any signal that he's still among the living.

So much for million-dollar contracts.

Two really bad things happened between Jan. 21 and Jan. 28, and Giangreco caused both of them and will pay for both of them.

Raise foot into the air. Aim. Fire.

First, let us get a standard preamble out of the way. Everybody loves Giangreco and has for his 27 years at ABC 7. His official ABC 7 bio says so, so it must be true.

That bio hailing his amazing skill and nobility remains posted on the Channel 7 website - the same channel that apparently has been trying to fire him for five weeks. They have an odd way of showing appreciation.

As for me, I do not know why anyone likes, admires or tolerates anyone on Chicago's television sports, though exceptions elsewhere are the smart young guns on national ESPN talk - Sarah Spain, Bomani Jones, Mina Kimes and Pablo Torre. They are unusual because they possess bright, free-flowing minds on display.

Giangreco has odd hair and a strange misshapen smile that never changes. That's about it.

But Giangreco's tenure at Channel 7 might be kaputski because he momentarily lost consciousness and forgot this is 2021 and not 1952. He's almost 69 with a big mouth and apparently forgot you can't suggest on air that your female news anchor could play a "ditzy" TV character.

He also forgot that Cheryl Burton has agents and lawyers to protect her career, just as he does. She also is beloved. Says so right there in her bio.

The pointless, end-of-news-segment repartee always has been a career accident waiting to happen, and the blathering finally claimed a trophy victim.

Foot. Aim. Fire.

As reported by Robert Feder, the event unfolded this way: "A recording of the 10 p.m. newscast [Jan. 28th] showed Giangreco wrapping up a story about Canadian hockey star Spencer Jenkin painting his house while on roller skates and saying: 'Gotta get him a show on DIY Network. We'll call it House Fix with Sticks, and Cheryl can play the ditzy, combative interior decorator. I got it all worked out.'"

Yep, that will do it. Sounds scripted and almost deliberate. Fire in the hole.

Just a week earlier, Giangreco got into a hair-mussing spat with WGN morning anchor Larry Potash. In that exchange, Giangreco managed not only to insult a competitor, he bitched slapped his own station's management, too.

Foot, Aim. Fire.

As reported on WGN's website, that catfight unfolded this way:

During a Voicemail segment earlier this week, Potash said that ABC7 thinks their viewers 'are stupid because they are constantly telling them to, "bundle up if it's cold outside!"

Well, Waddle and Silvy at ESPN Radio saw the segment, and coincidentally had ABC 7 Sports Anchor Mark Giangreco on their show. So they told him about it. Giangreco responded:

"Really? This is unbelievable. Every weatherman in the universe does the whole bundle up thing. Every reporter. The reporters don't want to do it, the meteorologists don't want to do it. It's the news directors and general managers who make you stand out in the snow and say, 'Yeah, don't forget to bundle up and check on the elderly, hey!' We don't want to do that crap, and they do it too!"

Giangreco says he has no issue with Potash, and that he's very good - but "probably a little full of himself."

Potash's "Back Story" segment was also brought up in the interview and also a "socially distanced anchor fight" was joked about.

Potash had a response of his own after hearing the interview: "I make it a policy not to get in fist fights with 70-year-old men."

BURN! We smell an anchorman rumble brewing.

A reminder. These are TV anchors developing their own verbal jabs and letting the station stir the kettle.

In nearly the same week, a high-priced, but aging sports anchor insults his co-anchor as well as his station's managers. While insulting your bosses can be rescued from the pits of hell, the timing is not good for Giangreco, who has a documented history of big-mouthed antagonisms.

To be fair to Giangreco - and you should not count on me being randomly fair to anyone - there is no evidence he said anything inaccurate.

We cannot testify if Burton is a ditz or not. Media consultants don't normally test for "ditziness" for anchors, only likability. She is poised, attractive and charming. But she might be a lead ingot mentally, as far as we know.

As for calling your boss an idiot, that description also could be true. On the other hand, when you pay a guy several million bucks, you expect he won't call you an idiot in public. It's bad form.

This is mostly a test reaffirming how much trouble telling the truth can cause for media chatterboxes with no sense or decorum.

In Giangreco's case, the cost of a big mouth runs to seven figures. It also could end 27 years of being "beloved."

As comic Ron White says: I had the right to remain silent, but not the ability.


David Rutter is the former publisher/editor of the Lake County News-Sun, and more importantly, the former author of the Beachwood's late, great "The Week In WTF" column. His most recent piece for us was Adam Kinzinger Is No Friend Of Mine. You can also check him out at his Theeditor50's blog. He welcomes your comments.


Posted on March 5, 2021

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