Getting Up With The Jam
Chicagoans are waking up to a morning television show that is a real eye-opener
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The hosts of WCIU-TV's informational morning show The Jam include (left to right) Felicia Lawrence, Jordan Cornette and Carly Henderson.
MORNING informational television––which for years was limited primarily to ABC’s Good Morning America, NBC’s The Today Show and CBS’ The Early Show––exploded in recent years with new possibilities and approaches when it comes to offering early-morning news and entertainment for those who are trying to get the latest news, weather and traffic reports as they prepare for work, school or other activities.
One of the latest entries in a field of multiple and varied TV offerings is The Jam, the WCIU-TV production that’s skewed toward younger audiences and led by three equally dynamic and engaging hosts––Felicia Lawrence, Jordan Cornette and Carly Henderson.
Described as “Fresh Morning TV . . . Chicago Style,” The Jam, which focuses on pop culture, features a combination of local and national breaking news, interviews, the hottest personalities, style, entertainment, life-enhancing tips and various other issues important to Chicago viewers. Lawrence, Cornette and Henderson have the responsibility of delivering all of that information each weekday from 6 a.m. to 8 a.m.
This appealing threesome––Lawrence, Cornette and Henderson––is a delightful and informative tandem who brings nonstop energy to a show that is making its indelible mark in morning television. The following profiles offer some insight into who the hosts are and how they connected with The Jam, which debuted on “The U” in July 2017:
The Emmy Award-nominated Carly Henderson joined The Jam after original co-host Danielle Robay left the show after a year to return to Los Angeles and pursue other entertainment opportunities. With a degree in broadcast news from the University of Missouri School of Journalism, Carly came with her own entertainment credentials, including working as a TV host, video producer and time on the red carpet, where she covered events such as the American Music Awards, Billboard Awards and the MTV VMAs.
The nominee for a Daytime Emmy for outstanding New Approaches--Daytime Entertainment is a world traveler, having visited at least 25 countries, including South Korea, where she taught English for a brief period. And her reporting has included many noted celebrities, including an at-home interview with former Vice President Joe Biden, whom Carly describes as “wonderfully intense.”
Before coming to The Jam, Henderson’s reputation preceded her as one who is naturally curious, enthusiastic and “a little bit quirky.” Those qualities have proven to be welcome attributes as she and her co-hosts lead a show with its own unique style.
Born on the South Side, Felicia Lawrence, a graduate of Morgan Park High School, continued her education at North Carolina A&T State University, where she graduated summa cum laude with a degree in journalism and mass communication. Prior to returning to Chicago, she worked as an anchor/reporter at the FOX affiliate in Charlotte, where she reported on some of the community’s most interesting news stories, including the 2016 heated protests after the police shooting death of Keith Scott, a black man fatally shot in an apartment complex parking lot.
Later, Lawrence also worked for the NBC and ABC affiliates in Missouri as part of a career that included interviews with a number of entertainment’s biggest celebrities, including Tyler Perry, Morris Chestnut, Gabrielle Union, Kid N’ Play, Anthony Hamilton and Cee Lo Green.
A former intern at WCIU, Lawrence, a self-described foodie, travel enthusiast and animal lover who enjoys scuba diving, continues to be a supporter of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and frequently hosts various community events. At other times, it’s not unusual to see her around town at many of Chicago’s restaurants with her husband.
When Jordan Cornette left his history-making basketball days behind at Notre Dame, he stepped into the broadcast booth to share his sports knowledge and later ended up as one of the faces of The Jam. Prior to broadcasting, Jordan, as a member of Notre Dame’s men’s basketball team, established the record as the university’s all-time shot blocker. He moved on from player to educator, talking sports as a college basketball color commentator for CBS Sports Network and Fox Sports 1, and also serves as co-host and college basketball analyst on “Kap & Co.” on WMVP-AM, ESPN 1000.
The multitalented Cornette has meshed with co-hosts Lawrence and Henderson to catapult The Jam into the thick of the competition among TV’s morning shows, giving viewers a highly energetic show with emphasis on local headlines, entertainment, pop culture and other subjects of interest to Chicagoans.
On the personal front, Cornette will take some time away from his multiple
duties in June to marry his fiancée, WFLD Fox 32's sports anchor and reporter Shae Peppler.