ABC’s Live Well Network isn’t dead yet

Live WellNot so fast: Live Well Network, the digital subchannel carried by WLS-Channel 7 and other ABC-owned stations, won’t be signing off Friday after all.

ABC Owned Television Stations Group announced last June that it would cease operation of the network at the end of this week. But the company now says it will continue to air reruns of Live Well programming for at least the next two months on its eight owned stations, including Chicago’s ABC 7, which launched the network in 2009.

John Idler, president and general manager of ABC 7, would not speculate on what might replace the network here and referred inquiries to corporate communications.

Reaching 64 percent of U.S. households, Live Well Network offered lifestyle programs on home decorating, fashion and beauty, food, health, outdoor adventures, travel and finance.

Announcing its demise last June, Rebecca Campbell, president of ABC Owned Television Stations, and Peggy Allen, Live Well vice president of programming and operations, wrote: “Despite Live Well's tremendous accomplishments in distribution and original programming, we made a strategic decision that our priority must be local content, and we want to maximize our investment in our core local news brands in the digital space.”

The decision to shut down Live Well was tied to difficulty selling advertising around the programming, according to reports. ABC would not say whether it was profitable.

Corporate support for Live Well appeared to diminish after Emily Barr left the company in 2012 to become president and CEO of Graham Media Group (formerly Post-Newsweek Stations). As president and general manager of ABC 7, Barr was the driving force behind creation of the digital network.