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WGN America (formerly known as "Superstation WGN" or "WGN Superstation") is a Chicagomarker-based American superstation for WGN-TVmarker, owned by Tribune Broadcasting Company. WGN America offers its national programming across North America without network programming. It is the only remaining national superstation after TBS became a regular cable channel on October 1, 2007 (although WGN is still not available in most New England cable services).

WGN America is available via satellite to DirecTV and Dish Network as well as cable in the United States as well as through some smaller Canadian cable companies; most Canadian viewers which previously received the previous Superstation WGN feed now receive the WGN-TVmarker Chicago feed. In the Chicago metropolitan areamarker, WGN America is not available on cable or terrestrial digital but is available to DirecTV, Dish Network, and U-verse viewers.

History

Differences between Chicago and national

In October 1978, United Video uplinked the signal of WGN-TVmarker Channel 9 in Chicagomarker to the Satcom-3 satellite for cable and satellite subscribers nationwide. For over 11 years, the national program schedule was the exact same as Chicago's.

In 1989, a new law known as Syndication Exclusivity Rule, or "SyndEx", was passed. This law means that whenever a local station has the exclusive rights to air a syndicated program in their market, it must be blacked out on any out-of-town stations by the local cable company. On January 1, 1990, a separate national feed of WGN-TV was launched to avoid any blackouts, save for some sports programming, similar to WWOR-TVmarker's "WWOR EMI Service", only with fewer blackouts.

WGN America's national feed does not carry the WGN Morning News (it is claimed that the newscast was dropped in 1996 due to "SyndEx" rules on some segments) as well as the 11 a.m.-noon portion of the WGN Midday News and the 5 p.m. newscast (there is no known explanation as to why the 11 a.m. and 5 p.m. newscasts are not cleared on the superstation feed), but does air the Noon-1 p.m. portion of its midday newscast as well as the 9 p.m. newscast (All Central Time), along with the Illinois State Lottery and Mega Millions multi-state lottery drawings. But the nightly newscast is occasionally pre-empted on WGN America due to Chicago Bulls basketball games that air, or if a movie or special on WGN America runs long.

Other local programs carried on the local Chicago area feed that are also carried on the Superstation feed include the Saturday morning public affairs programs People to People and Adelante, Chicago, and movies.

Another major programming difference between the national and Chicago area feeds is that WGN America does not carry CW Network programming (which does appear on WGN-TV Chicago), as that network is available in most markets around the country. Superstation WGN did carry programming from the former WB Network nationwide (which Tribune had an ownership interest in) from the network's launch in 1995 until 1999, when local station coverage was deemed sufficient enough by Time Warner and Tribune to discontinue airing The WB on Superstation WGN. Moreover, some markets with Tribune-owned stations do not have WGN America on analog or digital cable. During this period, Superstation WGN also carried Kids' WB, which was carried only on the Superstation due to WGN's local morning newscast. (It was seen in Chicago at the time on WCIU-TVmarker.)

Sports

WGN America airs all WGN Cubs and White Sox baseball games, as well as a select amount of Bulls basketball games. Due to NBA broadcast rights restrictions, most Bulls games contracted to air on WGN-TVmarker are seen in the Chicago area only; WGN America airs movies and other syndicated programming instead. With former superstation TBS having moved its national broadcasts of the Atlanta Braves to its local Atlanta WPCH-TVmarker feed in 2008, it leaves WGN as the only superstation broadcasting local sports to a national audience. WGN gained the over-the-air rights for the NHL's Chicago Blackhawks in 2008; as with most of the Bulls games, these are exclusive to WGN-TV.

Original programming

On August 21, 2008, it was announced that radio hosts Bob and Tom would join the WGN America line-up on November 3, 2008; the video simulcast of that show is produced for Tribune's Indianapolismarker sister operation WXINmarker/WTTVmarker by B&T flagship station WFBQ. WGN America also simulcasts or airs on a delayed basis many Chicago-based programs produced by WGN's local department, such as local parades, event coverage, or retrospective shows on WGN's past.

On December 19, 2008, WGN America confirmed a deal with World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) to show WWE Superstars as a one hour program every week, starting April 16, 2009.

Change to WGN America

On May 24, 2008, Superstation WGN formally changed its name to WGN America. Initially, its use was limited to promos, as the Superstation WGN idents remained in use. The new name and logo went into fulltime use on the channel on Memorial Day, May 26, 2008. The channel would soon begin a slow change in its programming lineup, starting with the Sunday night "Out of Sight Retro Night" block, featuring older programs such as WKRP in Cincinnati, Newhart and The Honeymooners, some of which aired on WGN prior to the syndex era, or even after the start of syndex on the Chicago signal only. A few shows, such as former WGN staples U.S. Farm Report and Soul Train, have been dropped, mostly due to the dissolution of Tribune's television studio division. The transition process for a full rebranding is expected to take 12 to 18 months. In late July 2008, the network's logo bug was revised - the eyes element of the logo morphed into the words WGN America, and have also remained a part of the general logo in all other uses until the beginning of 2009. From January to April 2009, the text of the WGN America logo bug became the main logo with the eyes element.

Tribune Chairman/CEO Sam Zell and CEO Randy Michaels have also stated to the media during a nationwide tour of Tribune properties that they would like to lure comedian Jay Leno into the Tribune fold as the host of a new late night program after the end of Leno's run as host of The Tonight Show on NBC in 2009, by launching it on Tribune stations and using WGN America as a lynchpin for the show . However, in December 2008 NBC retained the rights to Leno by moving his show to 10:00 and creating The Jay Leno Show.

In April 2009, WGN America rebranded the channel, with a new logo, a new five note sounder equivalent to the NBC chimes (this same sounder is also in use on WGN Radiomarker in Chicago), new graphics, a new slogan ("Everywhere America Calls Home"), and new original programming. The channel did so to increase cable carriage outside the network's traditional carriage area and position itself as a general entertainment channel that programs to the entire nation, not just Chicago and the Midwest. [110885]

The network now relies primarily on a variety of re-runs and movies, such as I Dream of Jeannie, Bewitched, The Beverly Hillbillies, Seinfeld, Scrubs, 7th Heaven, Star Trek: The Next Generation, The Cosby Show, In the Heat of the Night, Nash Bridges, and Matlock. Other programs that the network features at times are Coach, NewsRadio, and occasionally American Dad. Films, which formed the majority of the station's primetime schedule until the Superstation WGN branding era, also continue to air on the network, but mostly in weekend time periods.

Outta Sight Retro Night

Outta Sight Retro Night is the Sunday night classic comedy block on WGN America. The following is the list of shows featured in the lineup:



This line up starts at 5:00 p.m. Eastern, breaks away at 10:00 p.m. Eastern for news, and resumes from 11-2 a.m. Eastern.

WGN in Canada

On January 17, 2007, many cable systems in Canada, as well as Star Choice (now Shaw Direct), switched to the WGN-TV Chicago feed, duplicating CW Network and many syndicated programs already available on other channels. This is a result of Shaw Broadcast Services (the main supplier of the WGN feed in Canada) switching to the local feed. It is believed that the switch was made to avoid fees required to carry Superstation WGN. WGN America continues to be carried on other cable systems in Canada (such as MTS TV), however Bell TV has been carrying the WGN-TV Chicago feed for several years.

WGN America HD

WGN America HD is a 1080i high definition simulcast of WGN America. It is available on AT&T U-verse, Dish Network, Verizon FiOS, and other systems. Cubs and White Sox baseball, Bulls basketball, Chicago Blackhawks Hockey, WWE Superstars, WGN newscasts, and most episodes of Corner Gas are in high definition. WGN began broadcasting its news in high definition on July 19, 2008.

Slogans

  • Chicago's Very Own (1983-present; used during WGN newscasts)
  • Entertaining America (1997-2001)
  • It's Great to Be Home (2005-2008)
  • TV You Can't Ignore (2008-2009)
  • Everywhere America Calls Home (2009-present)


See also



References

  1. http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/thr/article_display.jsp?vnu_content_id=1002802979|1
  2. http://www.wgnamerica.com/bobandtom.html
  3. http://www.chicagotribune.com/business/columnists/chi-wed-rosenthal-28may28,0,458215.column
  4. http://www.chicagotribune.com/business/columnists/chi-wed-rosenthal-4jun04,0,7170008.column
  5. [1] Retrieved November 9, 2008.
  6. http://www.wgnamerica.com/pages/outta_sight_retro_night


External links




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