WGN-TV has dropped its 9 p.m. news from WGN America, according to Chicago media writer Robert Feder. According to Feder, the national WGN feed now carries only two hours a day of WGN's local news -- the 4 a.m. to 5 a.m. hour, and the noon broadcast.
Why is this of interest to us as Cubs fans? Because of this portion of Feder's article:
"We’re transitioning from a network with regional roots to one with a true national identity, driven by provocative, brand-defining programming of the highest quality," Matt Cherniss, president and general manager of WGN America, said in a statement. "With this relaunch and our expanded portfolio of original content, we expect to significantly strengthen our position as a destination for viewers." Starting in April, WGN America will air its first original scripted drama series, "Salem," set during the infamous 17th century witch trials in Massachusetts. In July, the network will premiere its second original series, "Manhattan," dramatizing the race to build the first atomic bomb (known as the Manhattan Project) in Los Alamos, N.M. "We want our series to transport the audience to worlds that they have never experienced and tell big, operatic stories that entice and entertain," Cherniss said.
It would seem to me that if WGN America is beginning to produce original prime-time dramatic series, that would leave little room for Cubs baseball on the national channel. This doesn't mean the Cubs and WGN couldn't come to an agreement that would keep the Cubs on WGN-TV locally in Chicago while showing other programming on WGN America. That would, of course, cost WGN and Tribune Company more money. Are they willing to spend it? Only time will tell, and there has been no recent indication on which way the Cubs are going for the WGN-TV portion of their TV contract, which expires at the end of the 2014 season.
But with these moves, it seems less and less likely that you'll see Cubs baseball on WGN America, the channel you see if you live outside metropolitan Chicago.