Justice Network comes to Chicago

In fact, it’s already here. Deal with Univision puts Justice Network on digital subchannels; has been on WGBO since August

Univision announced Wednesday it has struck a deal to put digital subchannel network The Justice Network on several of its stations in large markets, including WGBO in Chicago.

Justice has been on WGBO’s digital 66.4 channel since August 7; Univision’s KMEX in Los Angeles added it June 30.

Launched on January 20, 2015, Justice is a channel featuring true crime, forensic, and investigation shows – similar to Escape, another diginet channel Univision carries on its stations (including WXFT here); several cable channels such as Investigation Discovery and the newly-revamped Oxygen; and syndicated shows Crimewatch with Chris HansenCorrupt Crimes and Forensic Files. Most of the programming is off-cable fare, including shows formerly on Court TV (before its conversion to TruTV), A&E, and Discovery. There are two original programs on Justice: Killing Spree and Inside The Mind Of A Serial Killer.

Investors in Justice include former America’s Most Wanted host John Walsh, who regularly appears on the channel via PSAs produced in cooperation with law enforcement agencies, Crime Stoppers, and the National Center of Exploited and Missing Children, and serves as the Justice’s on-air spokesperson. Though these PSAs (known as the BeSafe initiative), 101 fugitives and 103 missing children have been found since the channel’s launch. 

People in key positions at Justice include former Genesis Entertainment and NBC Universal Television Distribution head Barry Wallach; former Discovery Communications head John Ford; and Steve Schiffman, who served as president of the National Geographic Channel.

“We are thrilled to partner with Univision, one of the nation’s strongest and well-regarded broadcasters, to bring our unique concept to these major markets,”said Wallach.“Univision’s commitment to providing its viewers with a diverse array of quality entertainment programming and serve its local communities made them an ideal fit for our network.”

The channel’s first charter station group was Tegna, who currently carries Justice in 22 markets, including Dallas, Washington D.C., Minneapolis-St. Paul, St. Louis, Denver, and Norfolk, Va. The eleven-station deal with Univision boosts its coverage to 73 percent of the country, adding New York, Philadelphia, Boston, and the Bay Area (San Francisco-Oakland-San Jose) to the mix.

The move continues Univision’s reach to English-language audiences through digital subchannels. In various markets, Univision carries diginets Laff, Bounce, GetTV, Escape, and Grit. In Dallas for example, Univision’s KUVN carries Bounce and Laff on its digital subchannels. In Washington D.C., Univision is adding Bounce to its diginet lineup; the African-American diginet channel previously was a part of CBS affiliate WUSA’s channel space. WUSA is one of the 22 Tegna stations carrying Justice.

In Chicago, Univision’s WGBO added GetTV in 2014, and subsequently added Grit and Escape (to WXFT’s channel space, whose main channel carries Spanish-language channel UniMas.) The move marked WGBO’s first foray into English-language programming in twenty years, as it was known as a lackluster low-rated independent station before Univision purchased it in 1994. Since, WGBO has been far more successful, with a near 10 p.m. news victory among the adults 18-49 demo last June. 

Recently, Scripps Broadcasting (not related to Scripps Networks’ Interactive, who recently merged with Discovery Communications) acquired Katz Communications, owners of Bounce, Escape, Laff, and Grit.