EXECUTIVE SESSION WITH LARRY WERT

For Tribune’s Wert, Bigger Is Much Better

Larry Wert has a big challenge — and bigger opportunities — as head of Tribune’s soon-to-be independent broadcasting operations. A major player with its recent purchase of Local TV LLC, his new portfolio of 42 stations means he can take advantage of improved economies of scale. He also promises more news from the stations, says he’s losing interest in overexposed off-net sitcoms and explains that the newly established Tribune Studios will not be his stations’ only source of first-run programming.

Tribune’s Peter Liguori Beefing Up TV Assets

That was quick. Tribune Co.’s new topper Peter Liguori isdrawing on his strengths as a TV programmer and marketer to energize Tribune’s 23 major-market TV stations and its WGN America cable channel.

Tribune To Oversee This TV Programming

Tribune Broadcasting and MGM Television today announced a new programming operations relationship for This TV, the 24/7 free digital network that features movies from Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer’s 4,000-plus library. Effective this fall, Tribune Broadcasting will oversee all programming operations for the digital network. Launched in November of 2008, with Tribune joining as an affiliate partner in 2009, […]

Nils Larsen Out As Tribune Broadcasting CEO

Nils Larsen is out as Tribune Broadcasting’s president-CEO and has left Tribune Co. where he was EVP and chief investment officer. Larsen’s exit was confirmed by a Tribune Co. spokesperson, but no official statement will be made on the exit.

WMAQ’s Wert To Head Tribune Broadcasting

Fifteen years ago this week, Larry Wert accepted the biggest challenge of his career, becoming president-GM manager of NBC O&O WMAQ at a low point in its history. Today, he did it again: This time, Wert, 56, was named president of local broadcasting for Tribune Co. His widely rumored appointment comes weeks after Tribune Co. emerged badly battered from a four-year bankruptcy ordeal. Under new CEO Peter Liguori, the reorganized company is expected to increase its focus on broadcasting and shed other assets.

Tribune Stations Overhaul Digital Strategy

In adopting responsive design and a new Wordpress VIP CMS at its 13 television station websites, as well as WGN Radio in Chicago, Tribune Broadcasting has unveiled a new, simplfied home page. It also rebooted its approach to content, jetisoning superfluous information and scaling down to the bare essentials of largely home-grown news.

TVNEWSCHECK FOCUS ON SYNDICATION

Syndie Sitcom Shift: Tribune Out, CBS In

As Tribune is stepping out as a buyer of off-net sitcoms to develop its own programming, CBS is stepping in, looking for shows to slot on its growing portfolio of duopolies, many in the country’s top markets. As part of its new strategy, Tribune is currently developing shows for daytime and prime access.

Tribune, Cablevision Deal Ends Blackout

After more than two months during which viewers could not watch football and baseball, or shows like Glee on Fox, the two sides settle a bitter battle over retransmission fees.

Tribune, ITV Shooting Court Show Pilot

Courtroom shows have been successful for Tribune Broadcasting stations and programming boss Sean Compton wants Tribune to have more control of its own programming. That may all come together in a pilot series featuring an in-house legal personality from WPIX, Lionel.

KDAF Dallas Planning Major News Overhaul

News staffers at the Tribune CW affiliate got the word yesterday that the evening and late newscast would be made over in the image of Eye Opener, the news-lite morning show that is produced at KDAF and distributed to other Tribune stations. According to sources, all jobs are on the line and up to 30% may be cut.

RETRANS WAR

Tribune Stations Go Dark On Cablevision

Affected are WPIX New York; WPHL Philadelphia; KWGN Denver; and WCCT Hartford, Conn. The cable operator accuses Tribune of demanding fees that are too high because of its parent company’s financial woes, but Tribune says it’s asking for “less than a penny a day per subscriber.”

DMAS 12, 20, 26, 30, 41 & 42

Tribune Stations Renew Six Fox Affiliations

The new contracts cover KCPQ Seattle; WTIC Hartford, Conn.; WXIN Indianapolis; KXTL Sacramento, Calif.; WXMI Grand Rapids, Mich.; and WPMT Harrisburg, Pa.

AIR CHECK BY DIANA MARSZALEK

Tribune Stations Mix It Up In The Morning

Five of the group’s outlets are testing Eye Opener, a news-entertainment hybrid aimed at offering viewers an alternative to the usual morning fare. It’s a mix of pre-produced pieces that the stations intercut with their own live, local material. Tribune hopes it eventually will be able to sell the concept to non-Tribune stations.

Hubbard Interested In Tribune Stations

Stanley Hubbard, the CEO of St. Paul-based Hubbard Broadcasting, says that he might buy some of the broadcast properties if the price and location are right.

DMA 52

Rentrak Adds Tribune’s New Orleans Duo

Multi-screen media measurement firm Rentrak Corp. today announced that Tribune Broadcasting’s ABC affiliate WGNO and CW affil WNOL New Orleans (DMA 52) have signed contracts for Rentrak’s StationView Essentials service. “Tribune is looking forward to being on the street with Rentrak’s ratings information,” said Nils Larsen, president-CEO, Tribune Broadcasting. “We are excited to take advantage […]

DirecTV, Tribune Reach Retrans Deal

The two companies said late Wednesday that after nearly four days of blackout  they had struck a deal that will allow DirecTV Inc. to carry all of Tribune Broadcasting’s stations and WGN America cable channel for the next five years.

RETRANS WARS

DirecTV Takes Tribune Retrans Fight To FCC

DirecTV filed a complaint with the FCC on Monday accusing Tribune Co. of negotiating a new programming contract in “bad faith” and questioning who is making decisions at the company.

RETRANS WARS

Tribune Says No DirecTV Deal Yet

DirecTV said in a statement on Saturday that it has accepted the financial terms that Tribune’s management offered it by telephone two days ago. A deal would allow DirecTV to carry Tribune’s 23 local broadcast stations so that customers would not lose their programming when the current agreement between the two companies expires. But Tribune came out with its own statement shortly after DirecTV’s on Saturday evening, saying that it has not reached a deal or come to terms with DirecTV on any aspect of the contract.

RETRANS WARS

Tribune Threatens To Pull Plug On DirecTV

The current contract covering 16 TV markets and Tribune’s WGN America cable channel expires on March 31.

DMA 52

WGNO New Orleans Lays Off Eight Staffers

Multiple news layoffs on- and off-camera accompany the expansion Monday evening of the Tribune ABC affiliate’s almost-year-old News with a Twist brand into the 5 p.m. time slot, in addition to its current 6 p.m. time slot. Gone are Jessica Holly, Glynn Boyd, Kristina Pink and Christian Jennings, plus four photographers. Also gone is the station’s 6:30 p.m. newscast, which Holly once anchored.

Tribune Taps Bob Cook As Strategic Adviser

The former president of Twentieth Television will report to Tribune Broadcasting CEO Nils Larsen.

DMA 23

WJZY Signs On As Antenna TV Affiliate

Starting next Monday, Capitol Broadcasting’s CW affiliate in Charlotte, N.C., will offer the Tribune Broadcasting classic TV diginet on a subchannel. Tribune now claims coverage of more than 50% of the U.S. for the network, thanks mostly to its carriage on 19 Tribune stations.

Tribune’s ‘Dr. Steve’ Picks Up 13 Markets

The syndicated health, wellness and lifestyle program expands to 17 markets on Sept. 17.

Tribune Taps Longneedle For Kids Programs

Over the next three TV seasons, Longneedle Entertainment will gradually supply two of the three hours of children’s educational programming required by the FCC. It starts this fall with On the Spot, a trivia game show.

Tribune Names Nils Larsen Broadcasting CEO

The chairman of Tribune Broadcasting adds responsibility for the company’s 23 television stations, its national cable network WGN America and WGN Radio.

Tribune To Launch ‘Bill Cunningham’ In Fall

The syndicated radio host’s daily, hour-long TV talk show will debut on the Tribune stations in September.

DMA 27

Delia Tapped As GM Of Tribune’s Indy Duo

Larry Delia moves from head of Tribune’s WPMT Harrisburg, Pa., to run WXIN and WTTV.

DMA 10

Attitude Trumps Tradition At KIAH Houston

NewsFix, Tribune’s revamped newscast  screams an attitude of revolution. The CW affiliate’s new approach offers variety while sacrificing immediacy.

DMA 10

KIAH Set To Launch Anchorless Newscast

NewsFix will debut on Tribune’s Houston CW affiliate this Saturday at 5 and 9 p.m.

DMA 9

WDCW Ups Glenn Coleman To GSM

Tribune promotes the former local sales manager at its Washington CW affiliate to general sales manager.

Tribune Moves ‘Cunningham’ From WGN To Conn.

NATPE 2011

From Barn To Web To Broadcast TV

Tribune’s Sean Compton and musician Daryl Hall tell NATPE audiences how Live from Daryl’s House went from an artistic brainstorm to his website and then to WGN Chicago. Explains Compton: “There is a certain vibe to it and television needs some of that.”

Litton And Tribune Offering ‘Direct Access’

WPIX New York and other Tribune stations, plus Weigel’s WCIU Chicago, will debut the weekly urban entertainment series this fall.

DMA 3

WGN, Magazine To Launch ‘Bring It Home’

Tribune Broadcasting’s CW affiliate WGN Chicago (DMA 3) and Chicago Home + Garden magazine have teamed up to offer Bring it Home, a new print, television and online home design brand. Originating from a current editorial section in Chicago Home + Garden, this multiplatform brand now includes a recurring print feature in the magazine, a […]