Leila Rahimi promoted to lead sports anchor at NBC 5 Chicago

Rahimi will leave The Score’s midday show full-time but will return on Wednesdays. Dan Bernstein will host solo on other days, for the time being.

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Leila Rahimi debuted at NBC 5 Chicago on Nov. 7, co-hosting “Sports Sunday” with Jeff Blanzy.

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NBC 5 announced Tuesday it promoted Leila Rahimi to the full-time position of lead sports anchor, making her the first woman with that title at the station.

Rahimi has been working part-time at NBC 5 and full-time at The Score, where she has hosted the midday show with Dan Bernstein. Rahimi will leave the show full-time but will return on Wednesdays. Bernstein will host solo on other days, for the time being.

“TV is what I had done full-time since graduating college and even when I was in college,” Rahimi said. “As much as I love radio, that was always what I thought I was best at.”

Rahimi will anchor the sportscasts on the 5, 6 and 10 p.m. news and co-anchor “Sports Sunday” with Mike Berman, who will become the weekend sports anchor. Jeff Blanzy will anchor Friday evenings and when otherwise needed. The changes take effect April 4.

The promotion caps Rahimi’s return to regular TV after NBC Sports Chicago let her go in August 2020 as part of companywide layoffs at NBCUniversal. The Score hired her in January 2021, and NBC 5 put her on the air in November after former lead anchor Siafa Lewis left. Now, she’s officially filling his spot.

“We think the world of Leila,” said Kevin Cross, president and general manager for NBC 5, Telemundo Chicago and NBC Sports Chicago. “She’s extremely talented and will not only make our newscasts better but will strengthen our entire Chicago NBC group.”

Continuing to co-host “Sports Sunday” is important to Rahimi, who has vast experience hosting similar shows throughout her career.

“Now because of how NBC Sports Chicago is constructed, [‘Sports Sunday’] is NBC’s main 30-minute sports news show every week,” she said. “That means something to me to still be a part of that piece of NBC Sports.”

Though Rahimi will have held a full-time radio job for only 15 months, she was a quick study, which is evident by the show’s listenership. For February, The Score’s “Bernstein and Rahimi” show earned a 5.8 rating (including streaming) among men 25-54, ranking second in the Chicago market from 9 a.m. to noon behind WBEZ-FM.

“The Score has always, since I moved here, made me feel like I was a teammate of theirs whether or not I worked there in any capacity,” Rahimi said. “So it wasn’t about the comfort as far as that was concerned. [NBC 5] felt like the better fit for me. But I always wanted to do both TV and radio and have maintained such. I’m happy to still be at The Score. I enjoy that job.”

“Will we miss Leila every day, of course,” said Mitch Rosen, operations director and brand manager at The Score. “But I couldn’t be more proud of her. This is a huge accomplishment getting the main anchor job at a network station in a market like ours. But she’s still part of our team.”

Rahimi will be on the air regularly through the end of month.

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