WGN America Fully Rebrands as NewsNation, Offering 5 Hours of News From 6-11 p.m.

By A.J. Katz Comment

Need more cable news options in the evenings? Not satisfied with what you’re seeing? NewsNation believes it has you covered.

The Nexstar Media-owned WGN America launched three hours of national news programming last September in prime time, naming the block NewsNation, and proclaiming it would be “unbiased” relative to other cable news outlets. The company has now decided to now fully-rebrand WGN America as NewsNation and expand its news programming to five hours on weeknights beginning March 1, with the launch of two new hour-long shows: NewsNation Early Edition at 6 p.m. ET, and The Donlon Report, anchored by Joe Donlon at 7 p.m. ET.

“Rebranding WGN America as NewsNation underscores the network’s clearly defined mission of delivering fact-based and unbiased news, while making it easier for viewers to find this new informative source for news,” said Nexstar Networks news division president Sean Compton said in a statement. “At the same time, expanding our news programming to five hours Monday through Friday will extend the network’s reach and the depth of its news content across more weeknight time periods, delivering viewers more national news and regional stories from across the U.S., as well as coverage of the day’s most important issues.”

The Donlon Report will air weeknights from 7 – 8 p.m. ET and will feature a mix of news and interviews with newsmakers. The show will be hosted by Joe Donlon, a 30-year news veteran and a member of the NewsNation weeknight anchor team since its launch, who will assume his new role March 1. Prior to joining NewsNation, Donlon served as co-anchor of WGN-TV’s 9 p.m. news in Chicago.

The 8-10 p.m. ET prime time block will be re-named NewsNationPrime, and it will be co-anchored by former KCPQ-TV anchor Marni Hughes and former ABC News correspondent Rob Nelson, who have been with the prime time newscast since its launch last Fall.

NewsNation Early Edition will air weeknights from 6 – 7 p.m. ET, with Nichole Berlie shifting from her role as NewsNation weekend anchor to hosting the new show. Berlie had been a general assignment reporter and co-anchor of the weekend newscast at WCVB-TV (ABC) in Boston.

And then there’s former CNN/HLN and MSNBC anchor Ashleigh Banfield, who will host an hour-long news and talk show on NewsNation. The self-titled show will air weeknights at 10 p.m. ET, and also launch on March 1.

Headquartered in Texas, Nexstar is the largest broadcast company in the country, and NewsNation has access to 115 local newsrooms across its 197 TV stations, and 5,400 journalists. The infrastructure is there, as is a potential viewer base. When it launches in March, NewsNation will be available in 75 million homes.

Nexstar acquired WGN America as part of its $4.1 billion acquisition of Tribune in Sept. 2019. WGN America had been a cable entertainment network before launching the prime time news block last fall. Now, it will feature five hours of news programming in the evenings, with the possibility of expanding to news in the mornings and dayside hours.

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