Janet Davies and Mark Giangreco are reuniting for New Year’s Eve — but not where you might think
By Matt Collins Article may include affiliate links
Janet Davies and Mark Giangreco, who hosted “Countdown Chicago” for decades on the market’s ABC owned station WLS before being ousted (for different reasons) in 2021 have landed at crosstown rival WMAQ.
The broadcast will start at 11:08 p.m. Dec. 31, 2021, though Davis and Giangreco’s segments will be taped. A countdown to midnight will be carried live, according to the station.
Davies and Giangreco became famous for their traditional midnight on air kiss on “Countdown Chicago,” which is the longest running local TV New Year’s Eve special in the market.
For the Dec. 31, 2020 edition, which turned out to be their last time on the special, the pair sat next to each other with a clear divider between them due to the coronavirus pandemic — and shared their traditional kiss by puckering up to the panel.
Davis was cut from ABC 7 in February 2021. She had been working on a contract basis for the station since 2013. In addition to her New Year’s Eve hosting duties, she also previously hosted “190 North” and contributed lifestyle and human interest stories to the station.
Giangreco, meanwhile, was fired as the main sports anchor for the station in March 2021 after he referred to co-anchor Cheryl Burton a “ditzy combative interior decorator” on air during some crosstalk. Burton reportedly complained and the station negotiated an exit.
Giangreco had about 18 months left on a reportedly hefty contract — said to be worth just shy of $1 million per year.
Meanwhile, back over at WLS, the station is moving forward with “Countdown Chicago” but with “Windy City Weekend” hosts Val Warner and Ryan Chiaverini. Morning anchor Terrell Brown, evening meteorologist Cheryl Scott and anchor Hosea Sanders will also appear.
While no further projects featuring Davies and Giangreco have been announced, the station lost its lead sports anchor Siafa Lewis in October 2021 and hasn’t named a permanent replacement yet, instead rotating among its existing team and a new part time hire.