Here we grow again: NBC-owned WMAQ announced today it was expanding its weekend newscasts by 2 and 1/2 hours, beginning July 27.
WMAQ is adding an hour to its 6 a.m. Saturday newscast, which runs from 5-7 a.m., leading into Weekend Today, which has been a staple on NBC’s Saturday schedule since September 1992. WMAQ retains its 9-10 a.m. newscast, with NBC Kids fare (FCC-mandated E/I programming), airing from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
WMAQ is also adding more hours on Sundays, with the newscast now running from 5 to 7 a.m. followed by Weekend Today, then another hour of news from 8 to 9 a.m., followed by Meet The Press at 9 a.m., then another half-hour of news at 10 a.m., to fill the void left vacant by the departure of The Chris Matthews Show, which is going out of production.
Anchoring the expanded newscasts are Kim Vallas, Anthony Ponce, and meteorologist Cheryl Scott. In addition, WBBM-TV castoff Susan Carlson joins WMAQ as a weekend reporter and fill-in anchor.
Earlier, WLS-TV announced an expansion of its weekend news schedule, while WBBM returned to the daypart last year. WGN-TV added a 6 a.m. Saturday newscast a few years ago, while WFLD-TV does not air any weekend newscasts.
The moves comes as local stations are seeking to capitalize on political advertising revenue, with a hotly contested Governor’s race expected next year in the primaries and general election. Translation = you’re going to see more annoying campaign ads.
But on the upside, you’ll see more Cheryl Scott. And that’s not a bad deal.
Edited at 9:22 p.m. om 2013-07-09 (Susan Carlson info added.)