Nexstar Broadcasting, Mission Broadcasting and White Knight Broadcasting have agreed to launch the digital multicast networks Bounce TV, Grit, Escape and Laff in 54 markets.
The deals cover 130 channel launches on 81 stations.
When the rollouts are complete, Escape will be in 42 additional markets and reach 85% of the U.S.; Grit will add 28 markets and reach 93% of the U.S., Laff gains 45 markets and be in 85% of the U.S.; and Bounce TV will be in 15 new markets and 81% of the U.S.
Bounce was also renewed by Nexstar in eight markets and renewed by Mission in one market.
Grit, aimed at male viewers, Escape, targeting females, and Laff, which features comedy programming, are owned by Jonathan Katz's Katz Broadcasting. Katz is also COO of Bounce TV, which serves African Americans over the air.
Financial terms were not disclosed.
"Escape, Grit, Laff and Bounce TV are unique brands that are complementary to our stations' existing high quality, original, local news and other exclusive local and network-affiliated programming. Nexstar's top priority is serving the needs of the people and communities where we operate and with the launch of these digital multicast networks across the companies' broadcast platforms, we are delivering more exciting content to local viewers including classic and contemporary off-network sitcoms, original programming, popular movies, action series, documentaries, specials, live sports and more," said Brian Jones, executive VP and co-chief operating officer of Nexstar.
"Katz Broadcasting and Bounce TV are managed by seasoned and talented teams of television veterans who have a proven track record of success in both curating and producing excellent programming and we believe consumers in our markets will enjoy all four networks for many years to come," Jones said.
Multicast networks are carried on the secondary digital broadcast channels of local stations. The multicast business is growing, with some of the networks—including Bounce TV, Escape and Grit—getting Nielsen ratings and selling general market advertising.
"These are monumental agreements for our networks and the emerging broadcasting business overall," said Jeffrey Wolf, chief distribution officer for Katz Broadcasting and Bounce TV. "Perry Sook and his team at Nexstar Broadcasting have always been innovators and we're grateful for the tremendous confidence they've placed in our brands."
Markets that will get one or more of the networks are: Washington, D.C./Hagerstown, Md.; Phoenix, Ariz., Salt Lake City, Utah; Memphis, Tenn.; Fresno, Calif.; Wilkes Barre-Scranton, Pa.; Little Rock-Pine Bluff, Ark.; Charleston/Huntington, W.Va.; Green Bay, Wisc.; Roanoke-Lynchburg, Va.; Ames-Des Moines, Iowa; Springfield, Mo.; Rochester, N.Y.; Huntsville, Ala.; Shreveport, LA; Syracuse, N.Y.; Champaign-Decatur-Springfield, Ill.; Harlingen-Weslaco-Brownsville, Texas; Waco-Temple-Bryan, Texas; El Paso, Texas; Baton Rouge, La.; Burlington, Vt.; Fort Smith-Fayetteville-Springdale-Rogers, Ark.; Davenport, Iowa/Rock Island-Moline, Ill.; Evansville, Ill.; Johnstown-Altoona, Pa.; Tyler, Texas; Peoria, Ill.; La Crosse-Eau Claire, Wisc.; Amarillo, Texas; Rockford, Ill.; Monroe, La./El Dorado, Ark; Lubbock, Texas; Odessa-Midland, Texas; Wichita Falls, Texas/Lawton, Okla.; Sioux City, Iowa; Erie, Pa.; Joplin, Mo.; Panama City, Fla.; Terre Haute, Ind.; Bluefield/Beckley/Oak Hill, W.Va.; Binghamton, N.Y.; Abilene/Sweetwater, Texas; Billings, Mont.; Clarksburg/Weston, W.Va.; Utica, N.Y.; Dothan, Ala.; Elmira, N.Y.; Jackson, Tenn.; Watertown, N.Y.; Alexandria, La.; Marquette, Wisc.; Grand Junction, Colo. and San Angelo, Texas.