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Scripps to pull CW Network affiliation in seven cities in September

Four of the stations will convert to full-time independent outlets and will include local, news and sports programming. Nexstar-owned stations will assume the affiliation in Lafayette and Norfolk.

Four of the stations will convert to full-time independent outlets and will include local, news and sports programming. Nexstar-owned stations will assume the affiliation in Lafayette and Norfolk.

Fans of the San Francisco 49ers football team hold a sign with the logo of the CW Network during an event at Candlestick Park in 2009.
(Photo via Wikimedia Commons)

The E. W. Scripps Company will drop its CW Network affiliation from several of its television stations later this year, The Desk has learned.

The move will impact stations in seven markets from California to Virginia, with Scripps reconfiguring the schedules of each station to include more local, news and sports programming.

“This is an opportunity for us to bring Scripps’ excellent local and national programming – entertainment from our networks, news from local stations and Scripps News and, in some markets, local sports rights – to even more audiences across the country,” a spokesperson for Scripps said in a statement emailed to The Desk on Friday, adding that the company was “still in the process of determining exactly what the new programming will look like in each affected market.”

The stations that will lose the CW Network affiliation on September 1 include:

  • KATC (Channel 3) in Lafayette, Louisiana
  • KWBA (Channel 58) in Tucson
  • KSBY (Channel 6) in San Luis Obispo, California
  • KZTV (Channel 10) in Corpus Christi
  • WGNT (Channel 27) in Norfolk, Virginia
  • WMYD (Channel 20) in Detroit
  • WSFL (Channel 39) in Miami

In Detroit, it will be the second time that the CW Network has moved in two years, with the affiliation landing on WMYD shortly after the market’s other independent station, WADL (Channel 38), ended a temporary affiliation agreement that was based on a presumption that the station would be sold to Mission Broadcasting. WADL inherited the affiliation after the CW Network’s long-time home, WKBD (Channel 50), became a full-time independent station last September.

Four of the seven stations — including WMYD — operate full-time as CW Network affiliates, while running a slate of local and syndicated programming outsideWK the CW Network’s prime-time and weekend programming.

The other three full-time stations that will be impacted are in Tucson, Norfolk and Miami.

Stations in Santa Barbara, Corpus Christi and Lafayette offer CW Network programming on a digital sub-channel of another main network affiliate. It was not clear if these digital sub-channels would be repurposed into full-time independent broadcast outlets of their own, or if they will affiliate with a digital network owned by Scripps or another company.

Scripps becomes the second major media company to drop the CW Network’s programming from its television stations, following a similar decision by Paramount Global last year. In addition to WKBD, the move by Paramount affected stations in San Francisco, Sacramento, Atlanta, Tampa, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia and Seattle.

In each community, the CW Network’s majority owner, Nexstar Media Group, ultimately found new affiliates. In some cases, that involved moving the CW Network’s programming to one of its owned-and-operated stations. Nexstar also signed distribution agreements with Sinclair, Inc. and Hearst Television to bring the CW Network to some of its stations in affected markets.

On Friday, a spokesperson for Nexstar said the CW Network “does not intend to renew its affiliation agreement with the Scripps-owned television stations in seven markets” and will move the network’s affiliation to two of its own stations in Norfolk and Lafayette.

“We have interest from other station groups in the five remaining markets and expect to make announcements about those affiliations soon,” the spokesperson, Gary Weitman, confirmed in an email to The Desk. “We are prepared for this transition and confident that The CW will continue to reach 100 percent of US television households without interruption.”

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About the Author:

Matthew Keys

Matthew Keys is a nationally-recognized, award-winning journalist who has covered the business of media, technology, radio and television for more than 10 years. He is the publisher of The Desk and contributes to Know Techie, Digital Content Next and StreamTV Insider. He previously worked for Thomson Reuters, the Walt Disney Company, McNaughton Newspapers and Tribune Broadcasting.
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