WGN adds 5 p.m. news on weekends

Robert Jordan, Jim Ramsey, Jackie Bange and Rich King

Robert Jordan, Jim Ramsey, Jackie Bange and Rich King

In yet another expansion of its news operation, WGN-Channel 9 is about to add an hour of news at 5 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays.

Robert Jordan and Jackie Bange, who’ve been co-anchors of the 9 p.m. weekend newscasts on the Tribune Broadcasting station since 1995, will front the new 5 p.m. newscasts, starting July 12. Also featured will be Jim Ramsey on weather and Rich King on sports.

“Over the past year we’ve seen more and more major newsworthy events happening on weekends from serious weather to major construction projects,” interim news director Jennifer Lyons told staffers in a memo Monday. “It will be a good thing to be in the Saturday and Sunday afternoon time slot.”

The move comes just five weeks after WGN announced plans to add an hour news to its Monday-through-Friday schedule at 4 p.m., starting this fall. Combined with the new weekend hours, the station will be producing a total of 61 hours of local news each week.

A WGN spokeswoman said the new weekend newscast will replace repeats of such local programming as “Living Healthy” and “Chicago’s Best” on Saturdays, and movies on Sundays (“which we will work around”). The newscast occasionally will be peempted by live sporting events, she added.