Promotion keeps Jiggetts anchored to NBC 5

With her contract expiring at the end of the year and network opportunities knocking, Lauren Jiggetts could have been yet another one that got away from NBC 5.

No one would have been surprised if the Harvard-educated reporter who was named Chicago’s best-looking TV personality had followed the trajectory of other rising stars Ginger Zee, Paula Faris, Zoraida Sambolin, Alex Perez and Comcast SportsNet’s Sarah Kustok — all of whom were lured away by better offers in recent months.

But in a wise preemptive move last week, NBC 5 promoted Jiggetts, 31, to co-anchor of its 5 and 10pm Saturday and Sunday newscasts and rewarded her with a new multiyear contract. While continuing to report three days a week, she’ll begin anchoring weekends alongside Dick Johnson on September 15.

“I am so excited to share this news,” she wrote on Facebook and Twitter. “I am staying in Chicago and I can't wait to join Dick Johnson and [meteorologist] Cheryl Scott on the weekend evening news team!” (Tweeted Johnson: “Can't wait. Lauren's a class act.”)

“I’m tickled to death that this worked out,” said Frank Whittaker, station manager and vice president of news at NBC 5. Citing Jiggetts’ work as a general assignment reporter over the last five years — and specifically her coverage of local athletes at the London Olympics — he added: “Lauren has really grown since she’s been here. I’m delighted we are able to promote from our own ranks.”

The daughter of Chicago sportscaster and former Bears offensive tackle Dan Jiggetts, she previously worked at Channel One News in Los Angeles and WLVI-TV in Boston. A native of north suburban Long Grove and alum of Stevenson High School, she interned at Fox Chicago and CLTV before graduating cum laude from Harvard (her father’s alma mater) with a degree in sociology.

Joining NBC 5 in January 2007, Jiggetts added her family’s name to Chicago’s multi-generational broadcast dynasties, including the Volkmans, the Jordans and the Ponces.

With Jiggetts’ promotion to weekend co-anchor, NBC 5 will be restoring a dual-anchor format to all of its evening newscasts. Single anchors had been in effect on weekends since the position was held by Anna Davlantes, who left in 2009 to join Fox Chicago.

NBC 5 also recently named second anchors to its 4:30pm weekday newscast and to its weekend morning newscasts. All three expansions were the result of an infusion of resources by NBC Universal's new Comcast Corp. owners.

That leaves noon weekdays with Marion Brooks as the only solo-anchored newscast on NBC 5’s lineup.

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Laura Baginski, Editor (@TimeOutChicago)