NewsNation to become 24/7 news network June 1

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After a little under four years of life, Nexstar’s NewsNation will officially become a 24/7 news network June 1, 2024.

Starting that day, the channel will offer news, opinion and analysis 24 hours a day, seven days per week.

“We are immensely proud to announce that NewsNation is now a 24/7 cable news network,” said Sean Compton, president of Nexstar’s networks division, in a statement. “This milestone marks the culmination of our efforts to continue expanding and growing the network since launching it in 2020. It reaffirms our commitment to delivering unbiased news coverage, a mission that resonates deeply with our viewers, fostering their trust in the brand, and strengthening their loyalty to NewsNation.”

The last piece of that 24/7 puzzle will be filled when the network launches “NewsNation Now” with former morning anchor Adrienne Bankert on weekends from 4 to 7 p.m. eastern, three hours currently filled with “Blue Bloods” reruns.

NewsNation was originally the name of a three-hour primetime newscast on WGN America, the general interest cable channel that was renamed NewsNation in 2021. Nexstar had acquired WGN America after it bought Tribune’s broadcasting assets in 2019.

Ahead of the newscast launch, which happened in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic, Nexstar spent millions renovating space inside the home of its Chicago station, WGN, to feature a new newsroom and multiple sets for the network.

Under the new schedule, NewsNation will provide news, commentary and analysis on its entire schedule, though, like most news networks, overnight hours will be filled with a rolling selection of repeats from the preceding primetime lineup. 

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Over the years, Nexstar dropped more and more old programming in favor of news, though even when the name took over the entire network in 2021, the schedule still had large gaps without news.

Meanwhile, Nexstar continued to invest heavily in the network, including renovating a major newsroom and studio in New York City, while also hiring more staffers, including former CNN anchor Chris Cuomo and former ABC anchor Elizabeth Vargas

By becoming a 24-hour news network, Nexstar now produces and owns all of the content it airs on the channel, meaning it gets to keep most of the revenue from ads plus carriage fees it collects from TV providers.

The company has indicated that the network is profitable.

Nexstar notes that primetime viewership is up nearly 210% in total viewers and up nearly 120% among adults ages 25 to 54 since it rebranded in 2021, though it did not provide more specific ratings data.

Over the years, many of its newscast ratings have been reported as being lower than the entertainment programs they replaced. Overall numbers have reportedly shown some growth, though the network is far from attracting large audiences in most time periods.

Nexstar also noted in its announcement that NewsNation is now the nation’s second-most widely distributed cable news network, reaching nearly 67 million U.S. television households, though it did not clarify what defines a “cable news network” or “distribution” and the claim seems a bit dubious considering widely published numbers indicate Fox has around 70 million, CNN has approximately 80 million and MSNBC has over 85 million. 

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