As previously reported in this blog, starting January 1, 2015 WISH-TV channel 8 is losing its CBS affiliation contract to channel 4 WTTV. Local stations have to pay networks to our network programs. It was time for WISH-TV to renew its contract with CBS but CBS wanted better terms. WISH withholding out so CBS just told them to go take a hike. Several articles I read on the topic said that there were a number of stations holding out and that CBS wanted to make an example of us to get the other stations to sign for the new terms.
Original report said that WTTV would retain CW Network programming on a side digital channel. Over the air their regular CBS programming would be channel 4.1 and CW Network would be on 4.2. About a week or so ago Bright House Cable had already established a new channel titled “WTTV-CW” that was sending out a signal that was standard definition (480i) and not HD however it was 16×9 size so it looked like it filled an HD screen.
Two days ago it was reported in Variety that WISH-TV had bought out WTTV’s contract with CW Network. The WISH is now airing advertisements for various CW Network shows such as “The Flash” and “Vampire Diaries” coming to channel 8 January 1. The special WTTV-CW channel no longer appears on Bright House Cable.
Early reports after the loss of the CBS affiliation speculated that WISH-TV might discontinue its local news reporting because it’s expensive to do and without the ad revenue they get from network programming it’s hard to maintain such a newsroom. But as it turns out the opposite is true.
WISH-TV as a new tagline in their advertisements “WISH-TV Today, Tomorrow, Forever” basically throwing down the gauntlet saying to its viewers “Don’t count us out yet, we’re not going anywhere.” They recently aired a one hour special featuring their major on-air personalities for news, weather, sports reminiscing about the history of the station. They also recounted various stories they had covered in the past. Gave you a behind-the-scenes look at what their day was like. They also talked about how great it was going to be to have all this extra time to report the news without worrying about breaking in on network programs. They must all be great actors because they sounded like they really meant it. Basically they were admitting “We haven’t got anything else to show you except news so that’s what were going to do.”
The new schedule starts with a local news program at 4:30 AM that will run all the way until 9 AM. That’s not significantly different from what WTHR 13 does however much of that timeslot is filled with The Today Show from NBC. WISH will be local programming the entire time. In addition to that large block, they will do one hour at noon, two hours at dinner time from 5 PM to 7 PM. Again you get the same thing on other stations except that a half hour of that block is national network news. WISH will fill the entire thing with local. Finally at 10 PM through 11:30 PM you will get more local news. A total of 13 hours per day. WISH was already doing a 10 PM half hour news for its sister station WNDY 23. I’ve been unable to determine if this 10 PM broadcast will appear on both stations or if it’s moving from 23 to 8 completely.
Back in the 70s WTHR and WRTV swapped ABC and NBC affiliations but that was pretty much an even trade of two major networks. It was going to be a huge loss for WISH to lose any network affiliation whatsoever. The purchase of the contract for CW Network helps a little bit but it’s still a big loss for WISH. Of course CW Network is thrilled to be at a bigger more well-established local affiliate.
Another article from Indianapolis Star from past August on the topic. Be sure to check out the slideshow on this Indy Star article.
It’s going to be strange but at least we still get to see all of our relations from both CBS and CW.