A Taste of LA in Chicago

WMAQ the NBC O&O in Chicago bumped Lester Holt's network newscast for a car chase.

While the people in LA might snicker a bit, the Chicago car chase had viewers riveted to their TV's.

During the height of Chicago's afternoon rush hour, a suspect took police on a wild ride and WMAQ's chopper and Reporter Mike Lorber tracked a homicide suspect barreling through Chicago streets in a black Jeep at speeds up to 70 miles per hour with many police cars in pursuit.  

As the newscast was winding down, the chase was still going strong and no other station was covering the story. 

WMAQ News Executives had to make a split-second decision whether to stay with it or go to the "NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt" national news feed that was set to start at 5:30 p.m.

It's easy to blow off Nightly News when you're an affiliate, it's a bit tougher when you are on O&O.

But the station decided to stick with the chase and it was the right call. The car chase went on for a good 10 to 15 minutes beyond 5:30 p.m. before the suspect stopped and raced into a nearby apartment complex.

That development added yet another layer of tension and uncertainty to a story that Lorber stayed with, offering expertly-modulated and informative reportage the whole way.

The station quickly made a schedule change and moved Holt's newscast to 6:30 and it was one breaking news story that WMAQ won hands down. 

"Breaking news is what we're here to do," said WMAQ News boss Frank Whittaker.

H/T Chicago Business Journal