UPDATE (as of 12:45 p.m. on 3/26/2015): MLive.com has now reported the story and has more details. WEYI 25 will produce a 30-minute newscast at 10:00 p.m. for WSMH 66, unlike an hour-long as we originally thought. Remember, with WNEM’s 10:00 p.m. move to My 5 on WNEM-DT 5.2, Charter Cable 199 and Comcast Cable 4, it will lose Satellite viewers, since it doesn’t carry My 5.
Al Blinke, WNEM 5’s Vice President and General Manager (from an edited quote by MLive.com):
“Viewers value and trust the TV5 news team at the 10:00 p.m. time slot and is confident they can adjust their nightly television watching routines. We know that cable penetration is in the upper 60s and our over-the-air antenna viewers are about 10 to 12 percent. It might take a little bit of time, but we know people like our 10:00 p.m. product.”
WEYI 25’s FOX 66 News at 10:00 will start as a half-hour program and then be evaluated before the possibly of expanding the program to a full hour again. No layoffs are expected from WNEM’s transition, since it would mostly just change channels and nothing else. WEYI 25 is adding 18 people to its news team, from anchors and reporters, to photographers, producers and technical and operations personnel.
According to WEYI 25, they are adding new technology for a better high-quality broadcast picture and they say that they are ready for new competition against WNEM 5.
Again, all these changes were made as Sinclair brought WEYI 25 from Barrington Broadcasting and has since partnered up WEYI 25 with WSMH 66, in which Sinclair has already owned for a few years now.
ORIGINAL POST (March 21st, 2015 at 2:37 p.m.)
FIRST ON THE BLOG: There are very huge changes that are coming to Mid-Michigan’s primetime news. And for the first time ever, there will be competition in the market.
First of all, WNEM 5 has been promoting viewers about an April 27th event with a Wheel of Fortune-type of puzzle. It provides an E in the first, third and fifth words out of the 6. Viewers have been puzzled about the “so-called” event and after talking to a few who live in Mid-Michigan, I can confirm to report that WNEM 5 is scheduled to end production of FOX 66 News at 10:00 on WSMH 66 on April 26th. But in its place, it will be a brand new primetime newscast produced by WEYI 25’s NBC 25 News team under the same name, FOX 66 News at 10:00. The newscast will remain an hour-long, every night. We are hearing reports that Bill Harris (who works at WEYI 25) and Jennifer Profitt (who started working at WEYI 25 back in March of 2015 as their consumer reporter) are scheduled to anchor the new 1-hour newscast on WSMH 66 on weeknights, but those are unconfirmed reports at this time. This change is happening due to WSMH 66 owned by Sinclair and WEYI 25 owned by Howard Stirk Holdings, but operated by Sinclair under a LMA. Again, WEYI 25 will produce the new hour-long newscast for WSMH 66.
But don’t worry about WNEM 5. They won’t be left off from a primetime newscast because through the “so called” April 27th event, WNEM 5 will launch My 5 News at 10:00. The brand new 1-hour newscast, seen on WNEM 5’s digital subchannel WNEM 5.2 and otherwise known as My 5, will be aired every night and be anchored by David Custer and Meg McLeod on weeknights. The new newscast will be produced by WNEM 5 and just moving the newscast from WSMH 66 to WNEM 5.2. So now, WNEM 5.2 will be home to the half-hour My 5 News at 7:00 on weeknights (the ONLY newscast on at that time) and the hour-long My 5 News at 10:00, every night.
Once these moves take place starting April 27th, WNEM 5.2’s My 5 News at 10:00 and WEYI 25 on WSMH 66’s FOX 66 News at 10:00 will be competing against each other for primetime news in Mid-Michigan for the first time ever in the market. Both are expected to be hour-long newscasts. If any other details change, we will surely let you know.
This is DMA #70 and having 2 primetime newscasts in Mid-Michigan will be twice as nice.