FIRST ON THE BLOG: The long awaited change for WBXX’s local newscast production will finally take shape and will happen in the new year.
I have just learned within the last 24 hours that as of Sunday January 1st, 2017, WBXX 20 will replace the current WATE 6-produced newscasts with local newscasts produced by its newest sister station, WVLT 8. This means that the morning and 10:00pm newscasts will be produced by WVLT 8, instead of WATE 6.
And yes, WVLT 8 will be keeping the same exact timeslots that WATE 6 is producing and airing for as of now. That means that a two-hour morning extension of WVLT Local 8 News This Morning (on The CW 20) will debut on WBXX 20 from 7:00-9:00am on Monday August 2nd. The nightly 10:00pm newscast will remain as a half-hour (for now) and will air from 10:00-10:30pm, 7 days a week and that will debut on the exact same day as the new partnership begins… Sunday August 1st. That should be expected to be renamed as WVLT Local 8 News at 10:00 on The CW 20.
This comes nearly a year after Gray Television bought WVLT 8 from Lockwood Broadcast Group and became sister stations on February 1st, 2016. With WATE 6 still producing local newscasts for WBXX 20, the partnership had to end somehow and at some point. However, that partnership may continue and may move to Lockwood’s current Knoxville station, WKNX 7 (Ind.) if WATE 6 decides to go with that route. I won’t know if WATE 6 would do that, but it would be certain since WBXX 20 was a former Lockwood-owned station and with WKNX 7 as an Independent, WATE 6 could continue to do so, but we’ll wait and see what happens with that.
And for those who are wondering about staff, expect to see WVLT 8’s talent on the new newscasts starting in the new year and if WATE 6 does decide to move its newscasts over to WKNX 7, also known as The Knox, expect WATE 6 talent on that station. All these changes are expected to take place Sunday January 1st, 2017 with WVLT 8 producing its first 10:00pm newscast on the same day. And yes, the other partnership will continue with WBIR 10 (NBC) continuing to produce local newscasts for WTNZ 43 (FOX) which was WATE 6’s former partner.
So a huge change to Knoxville TV News is coming in the new year and WVLT 8 and WBXX 20 will be at the heart of it all of those changes.