What will the next big career move be for ABC 7's Mark Giangreco?
WILL MARK GIANGRECO STAY or will he go? That's a question that has been swirling through the back chatter of local TV news shops as the resilient sports anchor closes in on 25 years at ABC 7 later this year.
Giangreco's not talking. Nor is ABC 7 management. And there is no "Chicago P.D." evidence that he's headed anywhere. But this much is known:
The current contract cycle of the Jesuit-educated Buffalo native (University of Dayton, Class of '74) ends late this summer. With his golden log as a Chicago audience magnet, Giangreco doesn't come cheap. And the era of high-priced sportsmen peopling what now passes as local TV news shows has gone the way of legitimately entertaining Oscar hosts.
The forever-young Giangreco, who has flashed a sardonic wit while almost always masking his eclectic intellect, has also periodically found the trouble bubbles over the years.
He broke bad -- in the red electronica of some -- two years ago when he tweeted that the current POTUS left "America exposed as a country full of simpletons who allowed this cartoon lunatic to be 'elected.' "
While even coltish Ann Coulter might hesitate to go up against the Harvard debate team on that one, management at Disney-owned Channel 7 responded in predictable Orange County fashion: They handed Giangreco a multiweek suspension.
So, until authoritative edict proves otherwise, the Big Q., will linger: Are Giangreco and ABC 7 News headed for arrivederci? Or simply more amore?
The autumn leaves will tell.
IF THE NFL IS DOING its sly diligence -- as its officiating crew yellow-flagged so magnificently in holding the audience deep into New Orleans's 20-14 NFC semi over Philadelphia last Sunday -- there is simply no way young magic man Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs (-3) don't bounce New England in the AFC Championship game Sunday (CBS, 5:40 p.m.).
Very simply, Mahomes is the "Now, Wow, Cash Cow" of a professional showbiz conglomerate always seeking even more cascading disposable dollars from new mills. "The Fluid Fantasy" in Super Bowl LIII would also allow the league space for most reasoned analysis of CTE, Kareem Hunt and kneeling anthem peers to take two more marquee weeks off.
That L-Vegan -3 has been holding steady all week. It could prove nettlesome for KC backers in the money moments. But rooting for Mahomes is all about what's happening now, a changing of the guard, Timothy Leary's dead. Cheering for Grumpy Bill Belichick and his inflated Patriots is like hoping for another slight bump up in Apple stock.
As for the Saints (-3, tiny push to 3½) and the visiting L.A. Rams (Fox, 2:05 p.m.), if the NFL allows the game to be played organically the whole way through -- extremely unlikely -- New Orleans can name the final. Otherwise, it's called "gambling."
THE LATE RED RUSH -- without question, one of the two or three most colorful play-by-play men in the history of Chicago sportscasting and the best pitchman that Gonnella Bread ever had -- will finally be appropriately honored by Loyola University.
Members of his family will accept the 2019 Father William A. Finnegan, S.J., Award on his behalf at halftime of the LU-Bradley "Hall of Fame Game" at the Gentile Center on Saturday, March 2 for "outstanding humanitarianism and service to youth through athletics."
Among previous Finnegan honorees are George Halas, Ernie Banks, Chick Evans, Bill Veeck and Mike Ditka. Porter Moser and pupils still use the crescendo of Rush's radio call of the Ramblers' mythic 60-58 overtime win against Cincinnati for the 1963 NCAA men's championship to open LU player introductions at home.
STREET-BEATIN': Brian Hanley -- whose separation from WSCR-AM (670)'s buoyant morning franchise continues to baffle -- is campaigning a modest string of Thoroughbreds, almost all at Florida tracks. None are named "Entercom Evil."… NBC Sports Chicago will begin weekend-long fan-to-wall coverage of the Cubs Convention at 5 p.m. Friday. Parting will be such sweet sorrow as the Cubs depart the regional network for their own uber-optimistic startup, most likely with the Sinclair Broadcast Group, in October. … Broadcast hop-in of the week was Snoop Dogg, who assisted in the call of the L.A. Kings win over Pittsburgh last Saturday. (YouTube "snoop dogg hockey.") The Doggfather might make the perfect color man alongside Brent Musburger if and when the NFL Raiders ever drop blade in Las Vegas. … CBS's meteoric Tony Romo, asked by one national reporter to break down the top young QBs in the NFL, had Patrick Mahomes, Jared Goff, Baker Mayfield, Sam Darnold, Josh Allen and Lamar Jackson. Maybe Mitch Trubisky will be on the B-list. … Sports Illustrated is moving its swimsuit issue to May. That means the magazine can shift its White Sox-Cubs World Series coverage to next February. … When Dave Corzine (Hersey High, Class of '74) announced his retirement as assistant athletic director at DePaul last fall, he said, "Now, hopefully, I'll never have to show up on time anywhere ever again." Which is why he's back around the blue-blue Blue Demons as radio analyst.