We had to pre-tape the segment because “Chicago Tonight” is on at the same time as John’s radio show on WLS-FM, so I arrived around 4:45 for a 5:00 taping. When I got there, John was already in the dressing room.
“Deja Vu?” I asked.
“You’re telling me,” he replied.
John was a regular contributor to “Chicago Tonight” for several years about a decade ago. It was obvious that he was fondly remembered. He couldn’t take more than a few steps down the hallway without being warmly greeted by technicians, producers, and WTTW office staff. After rekindling old relationships, he went into the makeup chair (the makeup artist also remembered him and had friendly banter with John), before being ushered onto the “Chicago Tonight” set. Phil Ponce hadn’t yet arrived, so John reminisced with a few more staffers.
“Loved your book,” one of them said.
“It is so weird returning here as an ‘author’,” John joked. “I remember one time I was on with Bob Sirott and the segment before ours was about the Chicago Symphony Orchestra or something like that, and I said to Bob, ‘What in the world are we doing here?'”
When Phil arrived I was taken upstairs to a viewing room. They turned on the big screen for me so I could watch the interview on television, but I could also see them through a darkened window.
I thought the show went very well. You can see it below…