NewsNation is making more changes to its schedule (that hardly anyone watches)

By Matt Collins Article may include affiliate links

Nexstar’s low rated NewsNation venture is adding a new show and rebranding another.

“NewsNation Early Edition” will become known as “NewsNation Rush Hour” and keep its 6 p.m. eastern air time. Nichole Berlie will continue to anchor.

Meanwhile, “NewsNation Prime” will lose another hour to make way for “On Balance” with Leland Vittert, a former personality on Fox’s right leaning cable network.

On Balance,” which is described as “asking ‘why?'” in a statement issued by the network and attributed to Vittert, will air at 8 p.m. eastern.

That leaves “NewsNation Prime,” which is the rebranded name of the network’s inaugural broadcast originally known as just “NewsNation” with just one hour of live, original regularly scheduled programming from 7 to 8 p.m.

When the show launched on the network then known as WGN America, it ran three hours from 8 to 11 p.m. and was co-anchors by Joe Donlon, Marnie Hughes and Rob Nelson.

Nexstar’s announcement of the schedule changes notably avoided noting that its once signature newscast is now just a third of what it once was.

Once the changes launch, NewsNation will feature more personality driven analysis and interview shows than the “straight” news format the network originally offered — three hours of “On Balance,” “The Donlon Report” and “Banfield” compared to two hours of “Prime” and “Rush Hour,” though there have been constant rumblings the network will be adding a morning newscast at some point.

That said, the overall trend in linear broadcasting has shifted away from the “news wheel” or simply more straightforward newscasts to more personality driven blocks, especially in afternoon and evening hours.

The shift began in January 2021, when Donlon was moved off the main newscast for the standalone “The Donlon Report.”

The network also launched “Early Edition” at this time as well as an interview show with former CNN and NBC anchor Ashleigh Banfield at 10 p.m., cutting back its signature show by an hour for the first time.

The network also changed its name to “NewsNation,” dropping the WGN America branding.

NewsNation, which launched in the fall of 2020, has failed to make much headway in ratings despite these multiple programming changes.

It reportedly suffers from low staff morale stemming from dismal ratings and, despite billing itself as a “no bias” network, slated editorial direction.

The network’s founding VP quit, as did its news director and managing editor, within weeks of each other in early 2021, reportedly because they were concerned with the direction the network was taking.

Nexstar, which acquired WGN America as part of its purchase of Tribune’s TV stations, including local Chicago station WGN, hired former “GMA” EP Michael Corn to to head up the venture and also garnered controversy when it was revealed former Fox exec and Donald Trump adviser Bill Shine was serving in what Nexstar said was a consultant role.