By now, you have probably heard the news that Tribune Company of Chicago, owners of WTTV/WXIN in Indianapolis, have signed an affiliation agreement with the CBS Television network and ending the 58 year affiliation with WISH-TV.
For starters, CBS shows such as “The Price is Right,” “The Young and The Restless,” and possibly a US version of “Keep Your Light Shining” will move from WISH-TV (channel 8) to WTTV (channel 4) as of January 1, 2015. CW programming, which is currently on WTTV will move to WTTV’s digital subchannel currently occupied by This TV Indianapolis.
The main question you are probably is wondering, “Why? Why is CBS moving to WTTV?” If you remember the WISH-TV/Bright House Dispute back in October 2008, LIN and Time Warner Cable entered into an impasse during negotiations to renew retransmission consent deals for some of the group’s television stations. Bright House Networks, one of two major cable providers serving Indianapolis as well as the cable provider in Marion, negotiates retransmission consent contracts through Time Warner Cable. LIN TV requested compensation for carriage of its stations in a manner similar to the deals that cable networks have with pay television providers, as other broadcast station owners began to seek compensation from cable and satellite providers for their programming. The carriage agreement with Bright House expired on October 2, 2008. At 12:37 a.m. on October 3, WISH-TV, WNDY (channel 23/Marion Cable 10), and Fort Wayne’s WANE-TV (channel 15/former Marion Cable 20, currently occupied by TBN) signal was removed on Bright House. It would not be until October 29 when WISH-TV and WNDY were restored to Bright House Networks systems in Grant County, Indiana (which serves Marion, Gas City, and Jonesboro), but WANE-TV’s signal wasn’t restored, which led to WISE-TV and WPTA-TV being dropped nearly two months later. At that point, I had no choice but to cancel my cable subscription to Bright House after six years and began to watch over-the-air (and eventually added AT&T’s U-Verse Internet High Speed, making it an online streaming/over-the-air hybrid).
I somehow knew what LIN TV was going to try to do at that point and to this day, basically turned Marion, Indiana upside down.
Then, incidentally, the very last post on INNewsCenter was Fox’s announcement on June 20, 2011 that it would end its affiliation with WFFT (channel 55/former Marion Cable 2, now occupied by C-SPAN) moving WISE-DT2 on August 1, 2011. Nexstar had earlier lost the Fox affiliation for WTVW (channel 7) in Evansville following a dispute with the network over retransmission consent fees that it wanted its stations to pay to the network. WFFT has since reaffiliated with Fox on March 1, 2013.
And in a twist of fate, happens to the the very first unofficial post of the INNewsCenter revival is that CBS’s announcement yesterday that it would drop its affiliation with WISH-TV (and likely WLFI in Lafayette) and affiliate with a WTTV (and its Kokomo satellite WTTK), effective January 1, 2015. Like the reason for WFFT going independent from August 1, 2011 to February 28, 2013, and now the case with WISH-TV losing CBS is coming as CBS is aggressively seeking a higher share of retransmission earnings gained by its affiliates as part of affiliation agreements, an approach that openly irked WISH-TV’s owner LIN TV. I would not be surprised if LIN TV would subsequently be stripped of its CBS affiliations in Lafayette (WLFI), Buffalo (WVIB) and Providence (WPRI) as well.
As for WISH-TV’s future after January 1, 2015, and here is likely what will happen:
- WISH-TV will either become an independent station (or take the MyNetwork TV affiliation from WNDY) on January 1, 2015 as WTTV takes the CBS affiliation.
- WISH-TV will likely replace CBS daytime primetime shows with syndicated programming on weeknights, movies on weekends.
- WISH-TV will introduce increased local programming, including coverage of local high school and college sports.
- WISH-TV’s focus on news and investigative programming will likely be increased should the station become independent. WISH will expanded its weekday morning newscast from 2 1/2 hours to four (from 4:30-9 a.m., and effectively cancelling the 7-8 a.m. hour on WNDY), early evening newscasts expanded from a 90-minute to two-hour block starting at 5 p.m., and an hour-long primetime newscast at 10 p.m. (currently shown on WNDY) will joined the existing 11 p.m. newscast, and its existing noon newscast will likely expand to an hour.
WTTV, on the other hand, will have news since canceling a WRTV (channel 6)-produced newscast in 2002. WTTV, upon taking the CBS affiliation will have the following newscasts, as not to compete with WXIN (channel 59/Marion Cable 11)
- 4:30-7:00 a.m. Weekdays (WXIN currently airs a morning newscast from 4-10 a.m.)
- 12:00-12:30 p.m. Weekdays (WXIN did have a midday newscast from 2008-2010)
- 90 minute news block from 5-6:30 p.m. (WXIN currently has a early evening news block from 4-7:30 p.m. come September)
- 11-11:35 p.m. (WXIN currently has a late newscast block from 10-11:30 p.m.)
Then there comes WTTV’s likely weekday schedule come January 1, 2015 as follows (many shows currently shown on WTTV could stay or move to either WXIN or WTTV-DT2:
- 4:00 a.m. CBS Morning News
- 4:30 a.m. “CBS 4 Morning News”
- 7:00 a.m. CBS This Morning
- 9:00 a.m. Judge Mathis
- 10:00 a.m. The People’s Court of Let’s Make A Deal
- 11:00 a.m. The Price is Right
- 12:00 p.m. “CBS 4 News at Noon”
- 12:30 p.m. The Young and the Restless
- 1:30 p.m. The Bold and The Beautiful
- 2:00 p.m. The Talk
- 3:00 p.m. Let’s Make A Deal or The People’s Court
- 4:00 p.m. Paternity Court or The Middle
- 4:30 p.m. The Middle??
- 5:00 p.m. “CBS 4 News at 5:00”
- 5:30 p.m. “CBS 4 News at 5:30”
- 6:00 p.m. “CBS 4 News at 6:00”
- 6:30 p.m. CBS Evening News
- 7:00 p.m. The Big Bang Theory
- 7:30 p.m. Two and a Half Men
- 8:00 p.m. CBS Prime
- 11:00 p.m. “CBS 4 News at 11:00”
- 11:35 p.m. The Late Show with Steven Colbert
- 12:37 a.m. The Late Late Show with James Corden
- 1:37 a.m. How I Met Your Mother
- 2:07 a.m. Rules of Engagement
- 2:37 a.m. CBS News Up To The Minute??
When WTTV joins CBS, WTTV will most likely pre-empt the network’s Saturday morning block CBS Dream Team in favor of running E/I-compliant children’s programs acquired from the syndication market and pre-empt Up To The Minute, in favor of airing syndicated programs and infomericals during the overnight hours. Once the syndicated acquired programs get dropped from WTTV’s schedule once contract commitments with syndication distributors ended, likely those blocks may begin airing.
Then comes the issue of the This TV subchannel, since that is owned by Tribune Broadcasting. One scenario is This TV could move to a new subchannel on WXIN because WTTV will likely upgrade 4.1 and 4.2 to HD and WXIN currently has Fox on 59.1 and Antenna TV on 59.2, and possibly This TV on 59.3.
Bottom line: I think WTTV is considered to be a strong CBS affiliate owing to WTTV’s former “Indiana’s Sports Station” as a college basketball hotbed and teams such as Purdue, Butler, and Indiana being longtime fixtures in the tournament, I think NCAA tournament games on WTTV will be consistently among the highest-rated programs in Indianapolis during the tournament’s run. Unfortunately WTTV’s future late news WILL NOT serve the lead-in for Indianapolis native David Letterman’s late night talk show on CBS, the Late Show), since The Late Show with Davide Letterman’s final episode will air on WISH, not WTTV.
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