With the addition, the station will move its current programming branded as The U to a subchannel.
The CW network will have a new home in Chicago on Weigel Broadcasting Co.’s WCIU beginning this fall. Rebranded as The CW26, WCIU will feature CW’s six nights of primetime programming (Sunday-Friday, 7-9 p.m.) as well as children’s programming on Saturday mornings..
The previous CW affiliate in the market was Fox-owned WPWR.
Weigel’s longtime independent station, The U, will continue to serve Chicago audiences as a separate channel in addition to The CW26. The U will be highlighted by original programming in primetime every weeknight with WLS-TV’s Eyewitness News on The U at 7 p.m., and the new talk program Tamron Hall at 8 p.m.
“About 25 years ago WCIU became The U and changed the television landscape in Chicago,” said Neal Sabin, vice chairman of Weigel Broadcasting. “Now we are embarking on an ambitious plan to once again elevate WCIU and The CW Network’s presence here as a lively and local destination for entertaining and engaging television.”
“We are thrilled to partner with Weigel Broadcasting and WCIU, The CW’s new home in Chicago, where viewers can continue to enjoy The CW’s popular, critically-acclaimed primetime programming,” said Chris Brooks, EVP, network distribution, The CW. “The CW has continued to grow with popular shows such as Riverdale and The Flash and our relationship with WCIU is a perfect opportunity to add to that momentum in Chicago.”
The CW26 programming will air over-the-air on channel 26.1 and on all major cable and satellite systems. The live local weekday morning program The Jam will be seen on The CW26 alongside familiar sitcoms like Seinfeld, Mike & Molly and The King of Queens plus long-running court programs The People’s Court and Judge Mathis.
The U will be available over-the-air on ch. 26.2 as well as on major cable systems. In addition to WLS’s primetime newscast and Tamron Hall, The U will feature a lineup of court, true crime and talk programs, plus live high school football and basketball games on The Game of the Week.
“Today’s technology allows us to create The CW26 on WCIU while continuing to grow The U as well. The power of two local brands means more choice for our viewers and options for our advertisers,” Sabin said.
Weigel’s Chicago stations also continue as the flagship homes of the company’s MeTV, Heroes & Icons and Decades networks.
Complete program lineups and cable/satellite channel listings will be released later this summer.