ABC 7 to bump Cubs game to CW 26 (Updated)

Bachelor in Paradise finale reason for the move

(Editor’s Note: This story is updated as of September 17.)

In a move panned by some – and praised by others (particularly reality TV fans), the Cubs and ABC-owned WLS-TV – ABC 7 – announced Thursday the station was pushing a previously-scheduled Tuesday 7:05 p.m. game between the team and the Cincinnati Reds to WCIU, a station who became a CW affiliate just two weeks ago and re-branded itself as CW 26. The move was necessary due to a last-minute decision by ABC to program the finale of Bachelor In Paradise on Tuesday.

The move caught officials at ABC 7 off guard as generally, some ABC programming is moved to the late-night hours to accommodate Cubs games, which is only 25 a year. But it appears ABC officials ordered its O&O station in Chicago to find another outlet for the game, even though the Cubs are in a playoff race.

In a strange twist of irony, this means CW programming on WCIU will be pre-empted for the Cubs game. Many years ago, WCIU served as an outlet for pro sporting events Tribune’s WGN-TV couldn’t carry due to The WB and later CW programming commitments – one of the main reasons WGN opted not to renew its CW affiliation in 2016 as network programming shifted to Fox-owned My Network TV affiliate WPWR-TV (WPWR also served as an affiliate for some WGN sports programming in 2015 and 2016.) In April, WCIU signed a deal to become Chicago’s CW outlet and programming shifted to the Weigel-owned station September 1.

Fortunately for WCIU and The CW, the network’s new season does not begin until next month. WCIU is shifting pre-empted programming consisting of Pandora and Mysteries Decoded to 11 p.m. and midnight, respectively.

ABC 7, WGN and NBC Sports Chicago’s contracts to carry Chicago Cubs baseball expires at the end of this month as the team is preparing to launch the new Marquee Sports Network with Sinclair Broadcasting in February, with all contests (excluding Fox broadcast network and ESPN Sunday night games) airing on the channel as Marquee has no plans to offer any games next season to any broadcast outlet. In fact, WGN does not plan to do anything special to mark the end of their 71-year relationship, making you wonder if this is more of a “good riddance” situation more than anything else and that’s a shame.

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