Nexstar names ‘News Nation’ anchors, chief meteorologist

Nexstar’s WGN America has named its anchor team for the new primetime news block it plans to launch Sept. 1, 2020.

News Nation” will air from the WGN studios in Chicago for three hours with Joe Donlon and Marni Hughes at the anchor desk.

WGN America is a cable network that started as a national feed of local station WGN but has since branched out to become its own brand and channel. Both were purchased by Nexstar as part of its acquisition of Tribune’s broadcasting stations.

Donlon has been at WGN since 2018.

Hughes has been hired away from Fox owned KCPQ in Seattle.

Meanwhile, former WABC and ABC News anchor and reporter Rob Nelson will serve as “breaking news anchor” while Albert Ramon from Tegna’s KVUE in Austin, Texas, will serve as chief meteorologist.

“News Nation” will air from 8 to 11 p.m. eastern time (7 to 10 p.m. Chicago time) and repeat again from 11 p.m. to 2 a.m. eastern.

Donlon currently anchors WGN’s local 5, 6, 9 and 10 p.m. newscasts. It is not immediately clear if he will continue appearing on these broadcasts, though, given the schedule, he would likely need to depart at least the 9 p.m. show.

On weekends, Rudabeh Shahbazi has been hired from CBS owned station WFOR in Miami alongside WCVB’s Nichole Berlie.

Tom Negovan, who left WGN in early May 2020, will serve as the broadcast’s New York correspondent, with fellow former WGNer Nancy Loo based in Los Angeles, former KOCO Kansas City morning anchor Markie Martin in Dallas and former WSVN staffer Brian Entin in Miami.

Nexstar is also bragging that the newscast will be backed by its over 5,000 journalists and meteorologists at local stations across the country.

It’s worth noting that Nexstar wound up picking a mixed bag of both internal and external talent, with Donlon, Loo and Negovan coming from within the corporate family.

The rest of the main talent was poached from broadcasters owned by other companies.

In the case of Ramon, Nexstar managed to hire away talent from a station that competes with its NBC affiliate in Austin.

That said, it also makes a certain amount of sense that Nexstar wouldn’t necessarily want to upset talent lineups in its local markets, particularly when ratings are steady.