Similar to NBC-owned stations’ recent move; ABC 7 returns to prime-time news
Joining fellow large-market owned-and-operated counterparts CBS and NBC, ABC-owned stations have now launched 24/7 local streaming channels of their own, including ABC 7 here (WLS-TV). According to the press release, the eight new channels “24/7 local news coverage, breaking news, weather forecasts, feel-good stories from ABC’s award-winning Localish, and exclusive premium content available free on their websites and streaming channels,” according to the group. The current local newscasts airing live on ABC’s linear channels are also being simulcasted on their adjoining streaming channels.
Two weeks ago, NBC’s owned stations rolled out their 24/7 local channels on the Peacock streaming platform, while last week CBS revamped their local streaming channels rebranding them “CBS News” and the city they’re based in (i.e. CBS News Chicago.)
News expansion is certainly the key to fueling the content on the new, individual channels. The ABC-owned stations (with the exception of WABC New York) are launching new morning newscasts and some are adding primetime newscasts. In Chicago, ABC 7 is launching a new hour-long 7 a.m. newscast with Terell Brown, Tanja Babach, and Val Warner with Roz Varon on traffic and Tracy Bulter on weather. On the other side of the day, ABC 7 is bringing back its 7 p.m. newscast anchored by Cheryl Burton and Rob Elgas. A similar prime-time effort anchored by Burton and Hosea Sanders ran on Weigel’s WCIU-TV from 2015 until 2019, when the station joined The CW.
ABC 7 is also producing another true crime documentary, this time about a stolen violin worth millions. STOLEN: The Unsolved Theft of a $3,000,000 Violin is airing exclusively on ABC 7’s streaming channel starting February 2. Earlier, the station produced Being Blago for Hulu.
Other ABC-owned stations are also expanding newscasts and adding original content. WABC launched a new 6:30 p.m. newscast, and an investigation series on Rikers Island prison. Los Angeles’ KABC is adding hyperlocal content and On The Red Carpet while KTRK Houston is adding seventeen more news hours a week and airing true-crime series Unsolved and Texas True Crime. WTVD in Raleigh/Durham is adding more content from its news team, including from its Race And Culture and First Alert Weather divisions. The other ABC-owned stations with new streaming channels are KGO San Francisco and KFSN Fresno-Visalia, Calif.
Unlike CBS’ and NBC’s offerings, which are available on Paramount Plus/Pluto and Peacock respectively, the ABC-owned stations’ content isn’t on Disney Plus or the regular version of Hulu, even though the ABC O&Os, ABC itself, and the two streaming services share a corporate parent with The Walt Disney Company. There are no smart TV apps available either, so if you own a set from Samsung, LG, and other manufacturers, you won’t be able to access the channels – a huge missed opportunity. But you can find ABC’s new 24/7 local channels on other platforms including Roku, Fire TV, Apple TV (not the streaming service), and Android TV, and each local station’s website or a smartphone or tablet app you can download through Google Play and the Apple store.
None of ABC’s streaming channels are geoblocked, so if you live in Chicago and always wondered what a local newscast in Raleigh or Fresno looks like, well here’s your chance.