Cut loose of its Fox affiliation, Nexstar-owned WTVW Evansville becomes "Local 7" July 1, with "more news, local lifestyle, community and sports programming," said Nexstar in a statement.
Fox announced May 11 it was going with a different partner in Evansville in WEVV. KTRV Boise, owned by Block Communications, also opted to go independent after losing its Fox affiliation to KNIN.
A growing number of stations are asserting their independence in the wake of the network-affiliate retrans wars.
Nexstar's rebranded Local 7 "will be the market source for locally originated news, lifestyle, sports and weather programming as WTVW will significantly expand on its current 30 hours of weekly, highly-rated, locally-produced newscast," added Nexstar.
"Launching Local 7 reflects WTVW's deep commitment to the community and focus on addressing the interests of our multiple viewing audiences in the Tri-State area with more locally-produced programming than they can get anywhere else," said Michael Smith, vice president and general manager. "Local 7 will build upon its highly successful news product as we are immediately increasing the amount of local news content and are developing other exclusive, locally originated programming."
Beginning July 9, WTVW's Saturday 6 p.m. newscasts will expand to an hour, while WTVW adds an hour newscast Sundays at 6.
WTVW will air Inside Edition at 7 during the week, followed by The Insider at 7:30 p.m. Law and Order SVU airs at 8 during the week throughout the summer. Every Saturday night at 7 is "Family Western Night" with classics such as Bonanza and Rawhide. "Sunday Family Movie Night" offers more current film titles.
WTVW is also adding a fourth hour to morning newscast AM Evansville while The Big Bang Theory comes on board September 19 and will air weekdays from 8-9 p.m. Smith said the news additions will make 36 ½ hours of news per week in the fall. The station will also offer college and high school games of the week.
"The moniker Local 7 clearly reflects our commitment to quality programming and advertising solutions, and underscores our promise to our community to address the evolving dynamics of local viewer interests and delivering a results-driven platform for advertisers," said Smith.