WLS-TV, ABC-owned stations add “This”

Replaces Laff on O&Os; New “Twist” launches on WGBO 66.5

The long journey of the This TV digital subchannel has added another chapter thanks to a deal with the ABC-owned stations, including WLS-TV in Chicago. The move took place April 1. 

“Allen Media Group’s over-the-air broadcast television network This TV is now well-positioned for greater success with the addition of these eight phenomenal ABC owned and operated broadcast television stations,” said Byron Allen, founder/chairman/CEO of Allen Media Group/Entertainment Studios. “As we continue to invest substantial amounts of capital into the programming, marketing, and distribution of THIS TV and our portfolio of eleven networks, we remain strong believers in over-the-air broadcasting and free-streaming direct-to-consumer platforms.”

Headed by Allen, the company purchased This TV and Light TV last year from MGM. Light TV was rebranded as TheGrio.TV on January 15 targeting black audiences, putting the channel in direct competition with Katz’s Bounce. 

For the ABC-owned stations, This TV replaces Laff on their dot-three channels as Katz – now owned by Scripps – moved the channel to their company’s recently-purchased Ion station subchannels. In Chicago, Laff was dropped by WLS-TV in 2017 and moved to Univision’s WGBO-TV as the station entered a spectrum-sharing agreement with WGBO sister station WXFT, clearing the 7.3 space. But with This TV now taking the position, some technical adjustments may have been made to make room for the channel. Laff remains on WGBO-Channel 66.2 for the time being while a delayed feed airs on WCPX-Channel 38.4. 

This TV started as a financial partnership between MGM and WCIU owner Weigel Broadcasting in 2008 but exited in 2013 and was replaced by Tribune Media, shifting the channel to WGN 9.3. When Tribune made a deal with Katz to replace This with the reboot of Court TV, This moved to low-power WRJK Channel 22. MGM assumed full ownership shortly after Nexstar took over Tribune.

Even though it’s owned and operated by Allen, This TV is still “powered by MGM” as the channel continues to run the studio’s movies and TV shows not to mention programming from other distributors. 

Meanwhile, broadcast station group Tegna launched a new multicast network Monday over WGBO on channel 66.5 called Twist, as reported here recently. While at first glance you’d think it’s a channel devoted to Chubby Checker, it’s actually a lineup of mostly cable reality TV show reruns from the 2000s and 2010s featuring titles such as Queer Eye For The Straight Guy, Clean House (with Niecy Nash!), Top Chef Masters, and Dance Moms with women 25-54 as the target audience.

Tegna and Univision are the launch pad for the new channel. Let’s do the Twist? Unless you were a fan of these programs way back when, this is one record you might not want to dance to. 



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