WLWT Adding 4 p.m. And 7 p.m. News, Moving 'Ellen' To 3 p.m.
More breaking news is coming to Cincinnati television: WLWT-TV announced Tuesday it’s adding new 4 p.m. and 7 p.m. weekday newscasts, a week after WXIX-TV revealed plans for the city’s first 3 p.m. weekday news.
NBC's Summer Olympics, which habitually draw huge ratings, will be used to launch a half-hour WLWT News 5 at 7 p.m. Monday, July 26. The one-hour WLWT News 5 at 4 p.m. will debut Monday, Aug. 9, after the Olympics conclude.
To make room for the city's fourth local newscast at 4 p.m., WLWT-TV will move Ellen DeGeneres' syndicated talk show to 3 p.m. for her 19th and final season. It's a pre-emptive move by Channel 5 to use Ellen as a lead-to build a local news habit at 4 p.m.
Longtime main co-anchor Sheree Paolello, Ashley Kirklen and weekend meteorologist Allison Rogers will anchor the 4 p.m. news, which will compete with newscasts on Channels 9, 12 and 19.
Steven Albritton and Kirklen will anchor the 7 p.m. news with chief meteorologist Kevin Robinson and sports anchor George Vogel following the NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt. At 7 p.m., Channel 5 will be competing for local news viewers with WCPO-TV while WKRC-TV airs Inside Edition and WXIX-TV carries Wheel Of Fortune.
"In our constantly evolving marketplace, we determined it was time to expand the number of hours of local news we offer, giving viewers more of what they've come to trust and depend on from us each day," said Branden Frantz, WLWT-TV president and general manager, in the station announcement Tuesday.
Frantz said the coronavirus pandemic in the past year has "shown us just how much local news and local journalism matter … and our audiences have engaged in historic fashion."
Jeff Benscoter, WLWT news director, said in the release that his station's audience "is growing, and we are committed to being there for them both on-air and online, whenever they need us." Benscoter described his newsroom staff as "an incredibly talented group of journalists" and "the most experienced and trusted team in town."
Often it's more cost-effective for stations to expand local newscasts by adding a few producers and reporters to work with the existing anchors than to buy syndicated programming. Local newscasts also provide more commercial inventory than syndicated shows, which come with some national advertisers.
Access Hollywood will move back 30 minutes to air at 7:30 p.m. after the Olympics, Frantz said. Extra moves from 7:30 p.m. to 12:30 p.m., replacing the daytime Access Hollywood.
WXIX-TV announced last week that this fall it will debut the city's first 3 p.m. weekday newscast, and add a third hour to Saturday morning newscasts, for a total of 68.5 hours of local news each week.
Here are WLWT-TV’s anchor lineups for fall:
The complete afternoon and evening newscast lineup will be:
4 p.m.: Sheree Paolello, Ashley Kirklen, meteorologist Allison Rogers
5 p.m.: Paolello, Mike Dardis, chief meteorologist Kevin Robinson
5:30 p.m.: Steven Albritton, Kirklen, Robinson
6 p.m. Paolello, Dardis, Robinson, sports anchor George Vogel
7 p.m.: Albritton, Kirklen, Robinson, Vogel
10 p.m. (on MeTV Cincinnati, Channel 5.2): Albritton, Robinson, Vogel
11 p.m.: Paolello, Dardis, Robinson, Vogel