CBS bringing full local news operation back to Detroit

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CBS owned WWJ in Detroit will return to the local news business sometimes in 2022.

The station hasn’t aired local news, aside from brief weather updates, since 2012, when it produced a two hour local newscast featuring content from the Detroit Free Press.

However, CBS is now planning to invest heavily in a local news operation and launch both local newscasts and one of its local streaming services in the late summer of early fall of 2022.

The streaming service, which will mirror the regional CBSN networks currently in operation, which are slated to be rebranded under the CBS News name, will initially broadcast from 4 a.m. to 11:35 p.m. daily.

CBS 62 will also add local news in the early morning, midday, early evening and late timeslots, for a total of 40 hours a week.

The network plans to hire a news director and full news staff to produce the newscast and streaming content.

CBS also released an image that shows the new logo for the operation.

WWJ is currently the only network owned station in the country that didn’t have a news department.

WWJ, which is in the eastern time zone, currently relies on paid programming from 4 to 5 a.m. instead of a local newscast and then airs “CBS Overnight News” followed by “CBS Morning News” until 7 a.m. when it switched over to “CBS Mornings.”

Instead of a midday or noon newscast, it airs the syndicated “25 Words or Less” and the 4 to 6:30 p.m. timeframe features “The Drew Barrymore Show” and “Dr. Phil” along with “Family Feud.”

At 11 p.m., it airs reruns of “The Big Bang Theory.”

It’s not immediately clear what the station will do with its syndicated slate, though it’s likely “Drew” and “Dr. Phil” will remain somewhere on the schedule since they are distributed by CBS Media Ventures.

Shedding other programming in favor of local news may take some efforts to get viewers to tune in given that the station hasn’t offered it in so long. However, it could ultimately be more profitable, since syndicated programming can be pricey and stations get to keep all the ad time during local newscasts.

Even lower viewership could end up making the arrangement make more sense financially in the long run.