Tom Skilling, the undisputed king of Chicago weather, will continue to reign supreme at WGN-Channel 9 and the Chicago Tribune for 10 more years.
In a blockbuster deal that was expected to be signed Wednesday, Skilling, 60, agreed to continue as chief meteorologist for the Tribune Co. flagships here through 2022. Terms were not disclosed, but Skilling is believed to be the highest paid local weatherman in the country, with a million-dollar salary and 12-person staff.
“This is a good deal for Tom and for Tribune because it gives both of them the security of one another for a decade,” said attorney Joel Weisman, Skilling’s longtime agent. “It’s particularly noteworthy in an era when people are uncertain about the future. Most contracts are actually growing shorter.”
Skilling’s last contract was a six-year deal signed in 2006.
Although details were still being finalized earlier this week, major points in the new agreement were negotiated between Weisman and Marty Wilke, who had been vice president and general manager of WGN until last Friday when she resigned to join CBS-owned WBBM-Channel 2 as president and general manager.
Calling his client “the hardest working journalist in Chicago,” Weisman said Skilling “absolutely loves the work that he does and does it as well as anybody in the world,” adding: ”He’s at the top of his game — and he has been for a long time. He’s a genuine scholar and student of what he does who’s revered by his peers and selfless as a mentor.”
Skilling, who began his broadcasting career at age 14 in his native west suburban Aurora, has been chief meteorologist at WGN since 1978.