NewsNation adds Dan Abrams to primetime lineup

Ends traditional news programming in prime-time, but adds news in mornings 

Despite ultra-low ratings, Nexstar’s NewsNation is expanding by adding a morning newscast and adding legal analyst Dan Abrams. 

Abrams is being added to NewsNation’s prime-time lineup beginning on September 27. Titled Dan Abrams Live, the new one-hour show is basically a discussion of the day’s events. Abrams is a lawyer and chief legal analyst for ABC News, founder of Abrams Media, who operates LawandCrime.com, streaming channel Law & Crime, and daily syndicated show Law & Crime Daily. Abrams also hosts The Dan Abrams Show: Where Politics Meets the Law on SiriusXM’s POTUS channel and also was co-creator and host of Live PD for A&E from 2016 until its cancellation last year due to fallout from the death of George Floyd. Abrams has also worked for MSNBC and co-anchored ABC News’ Nightline

“Joining NewsNation is a welcome, natural fit for me,” said Abrams. “Too much of cable news is polluted by partisanship with shows focused on indoctrinating viewers, unabashedly cheering for one side or another. We are committed to presenting independent-minded analysis and opinion on politics, media, and the most important stories of the day, exposing hypocrisy on all sides so viewers can make up their own minds. Always fact based, sometimes surprising, but never agenda driven — you might call it a cable news show for the rest of us.”

To make room for Abram’s show, NewsNation is shifting On Balance With Leland Vittert (which debuts tonight) an hour later to 8 p.m. (9 p.m. ET) from 7 p.m. (8 p.m. ET) starting September 27. With Ashleigh Banfield maintaining her slot, this means NewsNation will no longer have a traditional newscast in its prime-time lineup. 

Abrams’ show is being based out of WPIX New York, a CW affiliate Nexstar operates through Mission Broadcasting – which is now a subject of an FCC complaint from Comcast. In turn, Nexstar sued Comcast for non-payment of retransmission fees. Nexstar sold WPIX to Scripps to get under the 39 percent ownership cap after its acquisition of Tribune Media, but retained an option to reacquire the station – one transferred to Mission, a company who manages all of their stations through Nexstar in a shared services agreement, a source of Comcast’s ire. 

As NewsNation is subtracting traditional news from primetime, they’re adding it in the mornings. As expected, NewsNation is launching a new three-hour morning newscast from 6 to 9 a.m. (7 to 10 a.m. ET) anchored by former ABC News correspondent and former Good Morning America Weekend anchor Adrienne Bankhart. 

The additions and news expansion comes as ratings for NewsNation continue to go down. According to Nielsen via NextTV, During the month of June, NewsNation averaged only 28,000 viewers in primetime and only 5,000 viewers in the key 25-54 demo, the most important one for news. Despite the abysmal numbers, it’s full steam ahead for Nexstar who believes the high advertising and marketer demand for news in an environment where viewers are abandoning linear TV for streaming services outweighs any ratings concerns. 

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