Today not only marks the beginning of a brand new month, but a brand-new channel on Chicago’s television landscape.
NBC-owned WMAQ-TV is launching Non-Stop Chicago today on digital subchannel 5.2, Comcast channel 252, RCN channel 130, and other dial positions once occupied by NBC’s now-defunct WeatherPlus network. In the time since, WMAQ had been running a non-stop loop of weather maps (which one can joke that the channel usually drew more viewers than Ion, WJYS, or MyNetwork TV.) News of the new channel first surfaced on Robert Feder’s blog back in July.
The new Non-Stop channel is modeled after the one operated by sister station WNBC-TV in New York City, which airs a variety of local news programming and entertainment shows on its Non-Stop outlet. Its signature show is a hour-long 7 p.m. newscast hosted by veteran anchor Chuck Scarborough.
WMAQ plans to air several original local programs, including a 7 p.m. half-hour news program titled The Talk, hosted by Marion Brooks (Ironically, CBS has a similar program with the same name, which may mark the first time in television history two programs with the same name and format has aired simultaneously on a daily basis in the Chicago market.)
The Talk will go head-to-head with WTTW’s long-running Chicago Tonight.
Also, Citadel’s WLS-AM will let Non-Stop Chicago air three hours of Roe Conn and Richard Roeper’s afternoon radio talk show air daily from 3 to 6 p.m, with the 4 to 6 p.m. portion a live simulcast.
And WMAQ will air The Rundown at 1 and 6 p.m., which features a more in-death analysis of the day’s major news stories.
Non-Stop Chicago also will feature some local entertainment programming as well, thanks to the gang at Nude Hippo and existing local and nationally syndicated LX TV shows.
Some syndicated programming is planned to air on Non-Stop Chicago, including Sony’s Nate Berkus Show, which gets an additional airing at 10 p.m. (Berkus already airs on WMAQ at 2 p.m.)
The Non-Stop strategy is being rolled out to most NBC O&Os, with Dallas, Miami, and NBC’s three California outlets next up to launch around the first of the new year. Non-Stop outlets launched in Philadelphia and Washington D.C. last week (the launch of Non-Stop at WVIT in Hartford has been put on hold for now.)
Meanwhile, Non-Stop Chicago is scheduled to provide election coverage Tuesday night, along with its WMAQ sister station.