The coronavirus pandemic threatens to delay the launch of two ambitious new Chicago-based television news operations in the coming months.
CBS-owned WBBM-Channel 2 had announced plans to roll out CBSN Local, a 24/7 streaming news service, by the end of March. But in light of everything else going on, CBS 2 officials said Monday they don't know when the service will start up.
Featuring locally anchored programming, live breaking news coverage and archived, on-demand local news content, similar ventures already are operating out of CBS stations in New York, Los Angeles, Boston, San Francisco, Minneapolis and Philadelphia.
Questions also surround the launch of a live daily national newscast on WGN America, the Chicago-based cable network owned by Nexstar Media Group. "News Nation," a three-hour primetime newscast originating from a newsroom and studio at WGN-Channel 9, was to have debuted this summer.
Hiring began in January on a staff that eventually will exceed 120, according to the company. But the handful of employees who've been hired have been unable to report to work because of stay-at-home orders.
Jennifer Lyons, vice president of news for WGN America, said Monday the network is still moving ahead for a planned summer debut, but added: "It’s too early to know if COVID-19 will impact our launch."
A Nexstar source said "News Nation" will emphasize weather, adding: "With our meteorologists all over the country it makes sense for us to be heavy into weather as well."
Monday’s comment of the day: Carol Haan Morris: Great idea, WGN! All those visuals translate so well on radio!