WGN America Rebrands As NewsNation, Expands News Lineup
WGN America, Nexstar Media Group’s wholly-owned cable network currently reaching 75 million U.S. television households, today announced that it will rebrand 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.
The new newscasts will join Banfield, hosted by veteran journalist Ashleigh Banfield (see TVNewsCheck’s interview with her here), as new additions to the network’s news lineup. Banfield, an hour-long news and talk show announced earlier this month, will air weeknights at 10 p.m. ET, and also will launch on March 1.
Following the expansion, NewsNation, the country’s only live national newscast in primetime, will be re-named NewsNationPrime. It will air from 8 to 10 p.m. ET and be anchored by veteran journalists Marni Hughes and Rob Nelson, who have been with the newscast since its launch last Fall.
“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 Sean Compton, Nexstar’s networks division president. “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.”
NewsNation Early Edition will air weeknights from 6 to 7 p.m. ET, with Nichole Berlie shifting from her role as NewsNation weekend anchor to hosting the new show. Prior to joining NewsNation at its launch last September, Berlie was a general assignment reporter and co-anchor of the weekend newscast at ABC affiliate WCVB Boston.
“I’m excited to be a part of the NewsNation team and thrilled to be part of Early Edition,” she said. “Our mission of delivering fact-based, unbiased news is resonating with viewers, and I’m looking forward to building on NewsNation’s solid start with this expansion.”
The Donlon Report will air weeknights from 7 to 8 p.m. ET and will feature a mix of news and interviews with today’s 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 was co-anchor of WGN-TV Chicago’s 9 p.m. news. His reporting has taken him to Kuwait, just days after the end of Operation Desert Storm, and he has interviewed Presidents Trump and Obama, and covered political conventions, impeachments, and the Olympics.
“The Donlon Report will give viewers an in-depth look at the news events of the day with the help of our correspondents across the country and interviews with experts who can add insight and perspective,” Donlon said. “We’ll dive into the biggest stories in news, sports, entertainment and culture while staying true to NewsNation’s mission of delivering objective journalism.”
Beginning March 1, the NewsNation primetime lineup will be as follows:
6-7 p.m. ET — NewsNation Early Edition with Nichole Berlie
7-8 p.m. — The Donlon Report
8-10 p.m. — NewsNationPrime
10-11 p.m. Banfield
Earlier this month, the network expanded its reach to an additional 8.5 million U.S. television households following recently completed distribution agreements with streaming, cable, and satellite providers.