Chicago-based cable station WGN America will rebrand as NewsNation and switch to an all-news format and expanding its prime-time lineup, a change that will start March 1st, the Chicago Tribune reports.
WGN kicked off NewsNation as a 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. CT newscast that pledge unbiased reporting, in the fact of competition from CNN, MSNBC and Fox News. The programming bloc did not have opinion shows, but just three hours of news programming.
While the programming received praise from news and media critics, it has yet to catch on with viewers, with just 62,000 viewers watching the newscasts. CNN and MSNBC typically average more than 3 million viewers per night in prime time.
Dallas-based owner Nexstar Media Group bought WGN in 2019 as part of a $4.1 billion deal to acquire Tribune-media.
According to the Tribune, the new schedule expands the weeknight news block to five hours, starting with “NewsNation Early Edition” at 5 p.m. CT, anchored by Nichole Berlie. Joe Donlon, who currently co-anchors the full newscast, will shift to a one-hour solo gig called “The Donlon Report” at 6 p.m. CT. That will be followed by “NewsNationPrime” from 7 to 9 p.m. CT, co-anchored by Marni Hughes and Rob Nelson. Veteran anchor Ashleigh Banfield will host the final hour.