WGN America sets Sept. 1 launch date for ‘100% absent of bias’ nightly national newscast from Chicago

Tribune Content Agency

WGN America has hired its main anchor team and is set to launch its national newscast on Sept. 1, with a pledge to deliver unbiased cable news.

Perry Sook, the chairman and CEO of Dallas-based Nexstar, which owns cable channel WGN America in Chicago and nearly 200 TV stations across the country, announced the start date for “News Nation” and reiterated the mission during an earnings call Wednesday.

“This will be hard news, 100% absent of bias,” Sook said. “We’re so serious about that we’re hiring a panel of rhetoricians to review our broadcasts for unconscious bias that may creep into the words we use and the reporting that we do.”

WGN America has hired 30 of the 130 to 140 staffers it will employ in Chicago to launch the new three-hour nightly newscast. In addition to the unnamed main anchor team, WGN America is “in negotiations” with weekend anchor teams, and is staffing up with “network-quality” correspondents, Sook said.

“There are no names that you would recognize today, but hopefully names you recognize down the road,” Sook said.

The Chicago-based newscast will also use the 5,400 journalists at Nexstar TV stations across the country to supply local reports.

Competing with established cable news networks such as CNN and Fox, “News Nation” will be broadcast to more than 75 million homes from new studios being built at WGN’s facilities on West Bradley Place in Chicago. The program will air nightly from 7 to 10 p.m.

Sook said the straight news approach will set WGN America apart from the opinion-heavy programming featured on other cable news networks during prime time.

“From my barber to certain investors, people have said that the timing for this couldn’t be better,” Sook said. “The country just wants straight news, no opinion and they’ll make their own decisions.”

Nexstar completed its $4.1 billion purchase of Chicago-based Tribune Media in September, creating the nation’s largest local TV station group and moving WGN’s TV, radio and cable stations under the Dallas company’s ownership.


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