Who did Chicago Station They Think they Were Kidding?

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Two Chicago Anchor legends signed off and the station turned it into a cheap promo event.

Our man Robert Feder writes that somebody must have thought it was a good idea to include Dr. Phil and Nancy O’Dell in WBBM's farewell tribute last Thursday to Bill Kurtis and Walter Jacobson. It wasn’t.

Nor was it necessary to hear Scott Pelley, Charlie Rose, Gayle King or Norah O’Donnell read their scripted sendoffs to the departing anchor duo and pretend that they cared, too.

Together, their cameos turned what could have been a moment or two for viewers to savor into shameless plugola for the station’s syndicated swill and its network news shows — yet another example of how local TV news alienates its dwindling audience with incessant shilling and constant self-promotion.

Even worse was the clumsy choreography of the nearly eight-minute swan song: Kurtis and Jacobson forced to stand around and endure idle chitchat with Rob Johnson, Kate Sullivan, Ryan Baker and Steve Baskerville — all of them acting as if everything was hunky-dory with two guys who'd just been put out to pasture. Who were they kidding?