WXYZ drops ‘Action News’ branding

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After over 50 years, WXYZ in Detroit, Michigan, dropped its longtime “Action News” branding back in April 2024.

Starting April 22, 2024, the station began using the name “7 News Detroit.”

The new name is notable for two reasons: First, it no longer includes anything but a generic reference to the station’s channel number and the word “news” while also introducing the use of the city name. 

The name change could be seen as a bit puzzling considering the station has used the branding for half a century and it undoubtedly became familiar to several generations of viewers.

There are likely some cost savings involved since WXYZ no longer needs to pay Cox Media Group for the rights to use the “Action News” trademark, an arrangement that is typically done under a licensing agreement. 

WXYZ can also now include the city name more prominently in its newscasts.

With the new branding, the station’s newscast names resemble CBS-owned WWJ’s “CBS News Detroit” titling, an operation that’s only been around for about a year and a half.

Besides WWJ’s branding, which is aligned with its fellow O&O stations, other stations in the market include NBC affiliate WDIV, which is known as “Local 4,” and WJBK, which uses “Fox 2 Detroit” and “Fox 2 News.”

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WXYZ’s use of “Action News” branding goes back to the 1970s, when it adopted the “Action News” name and format after rival WJBK began using “Eyewitness News.”

The station went through a brief period of more flashy on-air presentation when it debuted its new set back in the mid-2000s before some updates gave the studio a slightly more subdued look. The station still uses many of the bones of that set, though it was extensively updated in 2011 with the help of FX Design Group, the original designer.

With the name update, the station has updated its opens and graphics to incorporate the new name. The station’s “Circle 7” logo is typically switched to a single color, as opposed to the blue and silver look it sported in opens before, and also includes the updated ABC globe in a matching, flat look.

The word “News” is spelled out in bold Gotham, with the word “Detroit” in smaller, lighter text roughly half the wide of “News” below. The logo no longer appears in Univers italics either, a design choice that gave the wordmark a forward-moving feel (or “action”).

The font update means that the newscast logos match the Scripps graphics package the station uses, especially the lower third inserts. 

“Action News” is both a trademark and format that was originally characterized by faster-paced newscasts with higher story counts. Not all stations that have used the name, however, followed the format, and many newscasts also use many elements from the fast-paced format without using the name.

The new branding also appears on WXYZ’s sister station, WMYD, a CW station known as “TV 20 Detroit.”

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