We have yet another Boston-related story for you and its the biggest media story of the day. Now, its bigger than WBZ’s 10:00pm move to 8:00pm on WSBK because WHDH is about to explode in newscast expansion because its official today that its losing NBC.
Today, Ed Ansin, the owner of WHDH 7 has dropped his appeal to try to gain the NBC affiliation back. Because of this drop, WHDH 7 will go Independent on January 1st, 2017. I don’t know where NBC will end up in Boston because of this but I’ll just have to wait and see on that front.
But in terms of WHDH 7, this means a whole lot more local news coverage. Starting Sunday January 1st, 2017, WHDH 7 will expand its news operation in the mornings, evenings and weekends. Here’s a rundown of the changes to expect on WHDH 7 starting in the new year:
- 7 News – Today in New England on weekday mornings expands to a five-hour broadcast, airing from 5:00-10:00am, just like its sister station WSVN 7 (FOX) in Miami – Fort Lauderdale. Its basically adding another two hours from 7:00-9:00am.
- The noon newscast remains exactly the same from 12:00-1:00pm.
- The early-evening newscast lineup remains the same EXCEPT a new half-hour 6:30pm newscast will be added to fill the void of NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt, making the lineup from 4:00-7:30pm.
- A new one-hour primetime newscast at 9:00pm will be added to WHDH 7’s lineup.
- WHDH 7 will simulcast the hour-long 10:00pm newscast from its sister station WLVI 56 (CW), with the status of WLVI 56, its affiliation with The CW and the 10:00pm newscast on that station for the future currently unclear.
- The 11:00pm half-hour nightly newscast is kept intact, making the late-night lineup as 9:00-11:30pm.
- The Saturday morning newscast becomes 8:00-11:00am as the 6:00am hour moves to 8:00am.
- The Sunday morning newscast will also become 8:00-11:00am as the 7:30am half-hour moves to 10:30am and adds an 8:00am hour in the process, matching sister station WSVN 7 in Miami – Fort Lauderdale’s Sunday morning news times.
- The new half-hour 6:30pm newscast as well as the current half-hour 7:00pm weeknight newscast will expand to weekends as well, making the early-evening lineup on weekends from 6:00-7:30pm.
- The new hour-long primetime newscast at 9:00pm will be on weekends as well as well as WHDH 7’s simulcast of WLVI 56’s 10:00pm newscast and the half-hour 11:00pm newscast is kept in tact. This makes the late-night lineup on weekends from 9:00-11:30pm as well.
WHDH 7’s Vice President and General Manager, Paul Magnes:
“With our expanded newscasts, we continue our commitment to informing our viewers and investing in the community. 7 News will be more accessible at the times viewers need. We’re especially excited about our new 9 p.m. newscast, because viewing habits have changed. People are recording traditional primetime programs and watching them later. Now they will be able to watch a live newscast with vital and compelling information they want before they go to bed.”
WHDH 7’s News Director, Linda Miele:
“More news means more options for viewers, who are living busy and demanding lives. Viewers know they can turn to 7 News for breaking news and big story coverage they won’t get anywhere else – and that will never change.”
With this expansion, WHDH 7 will air a whopping 87 hours of local news/week, more than any other local news organization in Boston, the state and possibly in New England. And so to recap the newscast schedule on weekdays and weekends starting Sunday January 1st, 2017:
The only programming change I’m being told of other than the expansion to local news is that WHDH 7 is adding 2 episodes of Family Feud with Steve Harvey on weeknights from 8:00-9:00pm. What will be on at 7:30pm as well as in other timeslots will be virtually unknown until closer to the date.
Thanks to this newscast expansion, Ansin says he plans to hire 30 more staffers for the news operation and currently, it has 300 full- and part-time employees. Plus, a new set is in the works for the station and is expected to be launched next month as well as a new graphics package that’s coming. That new graphics package could soundly resemble the one that WSVN 7 is currently using but we’ll wait to see what happens.
WHDH 7’s owner Ed Ansin, through Sunbeam Television, in an interview with The Boston Globe at WHDH in downtown Boston:
“Being an Independent is very challenging. It’s much more competitive. It takes more innovation.”
This is the biggest shakeup in the Boston television market in quite some time. One that Boston viewers will have to get used to in the new year with a new independent and a new home for NBC in Boston, the third such in Boston TV history (WBZ 4 until 1995, WHDH 7 until 2016 and a new channel yet TBD from 2017 onwards). A confusing mess indeed but one that WHDH 7 will seriously take advantage on.