Over and out: CBS 2 releases morning anchor Bartelstein

Does this make Steve Bartelstein a three-time loser?

The north suburban Chicago native who was fired from one New York station for sleeping through a news update and quit another after complaining that he felt “unappreciated” is suddenly out after 10 months as morning news anchor at WBBM-Channel 2.

Bruno Cohen, president and general manager of the CBS-owned station, confirmed that Bartelstein has been released and that his last day on the air was Friday. His bio was removed from the station’s website, and viewers were told nothing of his departure. Weekend news anchor Jim Williams will fill in this week. Bartelstein could not be reached for comment.

Whatever the circumstances, the fact that Bartelstein, 48, didn’t last a year on the low-rated morning show he anchored with Susan Carlson can only be seen as a setback for CBS 2. It also marks another strange chapter in Bartelstein’s career.

In March 2007 he was fired after seven years as morning news anchor at WABC-TV in New York after a series of incidents, including on-air spats with co-anchors, a sexual harassment lawsuit, gossip about late-night clubbing and repeated late arrivals to work. The last straw was when Bartelstein slept through a news update he had been assigned to anchor.

Six months later, he landed as a weekend anchor at WCBS-TV in New York. Although the station supported him during a bout with cancer, he soon recovered and began complaining of being mistreated by his bosses. In March 2009, after one of his paychecks was accidentally mailed to his home instead of waiting for him at the office, he abruptly quit. “I’m tired of this place not appreciating me for what I do for them,” he said at the time.

CBS gave Bartelstein yet another chance last August when he was picked up to anchor the replacement for Monsters and Money in the Morning. He was one of three WCBS alums dispatched to the Chicago outpost around that time. Although much was made of Bartelstein’s roots as a native of Evanston and graduate of Niles East High School in Skokie, he’d never worked on the air here and was as unknown to viewers as the two other New York imports, news anchor Kate Sullivan and weather personality Megan Glaros.

Before his stints at WABC and WCBS, Bartelstein also worked at CNN in Atlanta and for local stations in Raleigh/Durham, North Carolina; Providence, Rhode Island; Indianapolis, Indiana; Charleston, South Carolina; Portland, Oregon; and Evansville, Indiana.


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Laura Baginski, Editor (@TimeOutChicago)