All of Hearst’s 6pm Newcasts Would Be The No. 2 Cable Network

By Chris Ariens 

Despite the challenges facing local TV–increased digital competition, consolidation, the spectrum auction–the president of Hearst Television is bullish on the business.

Jordan Wertlieb, who has been with Hearst since 1993, says his stations have “the strongest news assets we’ve ever had.” And not just in ratings, but in awards. Just today, Hearst’s WTAE won a Peabody Award for an investigative series, while WDSU, KCRA and KMBC will all take home Murrow Awards. Hearst TV, part of privately-held Hearst Corporation, serves 27 markets across the U.S.

“One of the metrics we use a lot is all of our shows would rank in the top 10 of national cable networks,” Wertlieb says. “Our 6 o’clock news, which represents 19 percent of the U.S., would be the number two cable network in the country with 2 million viewers a night. Local news is very popular in our markets,” he says.


TVSpy caught up with Wertlieb following a discussion about the growth of automated ad services for TV, called programmatic, at the NABShow in Las Vegas.

As technology changes how local TV is produced, delivered, bought and sold, Wertlieb says the ongoing spectrum auction “will be a significant event for some, less significant for others.”

NABAdweekAdvanced Television reports media companies including CBS, Fox, Tribune, Gray, TEGNA, Scripps, Sinclair, Nexstar and Media General, could generate almost $7 billion during the current auction.

“But,” Wertlieb adds, “We’re committed to the business for the long term.”

Wertlieb is also looking forward to the change announced this morning at ABC, of Michael Strahan joining Good Morning America full time and leaving Live with Kelly and Michael. Hearst is one of the largest owners of ABC affiliates.

“He’s a very talented guy and he’s done well for Good Morning America. I’m looking forward to hearing more from ABC.”