Nextstar has announced a line-up of veteran anchors and journalists who will be at the helm of its new, prime-time competitive evening news show News Nation when it launches in September.
The media giant is taking on CNN, Fox News and MSNBC with News Nation, that will air across WGN America from 8pm-11pm ET starting September 1. The newscast will be based out of a new, WGN-TV Chicago newsroom but will also draw on Nexstar’s vast network of regional and local news outlets.
On Tuesday, WGN announced Joe Donlon and Marni Hughes will join the show as anchors, Rob Nelson joins as breaking news anchor and meteorologist Albert Ramon is also on board.
Donlon is a 21-year veteran of the news industry who previously worked for WGN-TV in Chicago.
WGN-America has announced Joe Donlon and Marni Hughes as the anchors of its new, competitive prime-time evening news show News Nation that will air in September
WGN’s HQ in Chicago where the new show will be based. News Nation will operate its own newsroom where the show will be filmed along with a website and app to deliver ‘unbiased, educational’ reporting
‘It’s a dream to get the call to work for a legendary station I grew up watching (WGN)… Now, I’ll get to launch another ambitious project across the country on WGN America,’ he said.
Hughes, who previously worked for KCPQ-TV in Seattle, said: ‘Building trust is more than just showing up and reporting the news. It’s about listening and learning from one another.
‘That’s the foundation of News Nation.’
News Nation’s weekend shows will be led by Rudabeh Shahbazi and Nichole Berlie, breaking news anchor, Aaron Nolan, and meteorologist Gerard Jebaily.
News Nation promises to deliver ‘news reporting that is fact-based, impactful, educational and unbiased.’
In addition to the evening television news cast, a website and app – News Nation Now – will be launched.
Rob Nelson joins as breaking news anchor and meteorologist Albert Ramon is also on board
News Nation’s weekend shows will be led by Rudabeh Shahbazi (L) and Nichole Berlie (R)
Weekend breaking news anchor Aaron Nolan (left) and meteorologist Gerard Jebaily (right)
The News Nation newsroom is currently being built out in Chicago
The state-of-the-art newsroom is being built out in WGN’s Chicago HQ ahead of the program launch
‘Our on-air anchors and reporters, as well as those guiding the off-camera news-gathering process, are award-winning journalists who understand the importance of being objective.
‘They reflect the diversity of our country and will be the backbone of News Nation, as WGN America begins charting a new course in television news, designed for the millions of viewers across the U.S. who want their news to be accurate, fair and without opinion,’ said Sean Compton, Executive Vice President of WGN America.
Jennifer Lyons, the tenured Director of News at WGN-TV in Chicago, will oversee the new venture as Vice President of News.
She said: ‘We’re adding more than 130 News Nation staff members to the 5,400 Nexstar journalists already reporting from local communities across the U.S.
‘We have assembled extraordinary teams both in front of and behind the cameras.
‘They are true journalists coming together with a clear mission: Your News, Your Nation. I think you’re going to learn so much about our country through them.’
Photographs obtained exclusively by DailyMail.com show inside News Nation’s new HQ in Chicago
Nexstar Chairman and CEO Perry Sook (L) and Sean Compton, Executive Vice President of WGN America (R)
Earlier this year, Nexstar Chairman, President and CEO Perry Sook, heralded the new show by saying: ‘Nexstar has the largest newsgathering organization in the country, with 5,400 journalists in 110 newsrooms throughout the U.S., including capitol news bureaus in 20 states across the nation.
‘We get to the scene of important breaking news first and provide live coverage delivered by reporters who know the local community and can provide the proper context for what’s happening.
‘This is a powerful combination and gives us a great foundation on which to build News Nation.’
It corresponds with the end of a series of entertainment shows on WGN America.
Sook added: ‘News Nation will be prime-time content that WGN America owns and controls.
‘By aggregating our current news resources to produce News Nation, we can leverage WGN America’s strong reach across the U.S. and develop a new unbiased national news broadcast without incurring incremental operating expenses.’
Jennifer Lyons, who has led WGN-TV in Chicago to success as its Director of News, will oversee News Nation as the VP of News
Compton said the show will fill a gaping gap in the market.
‘No one else is delivering news in prime-time.
‘Others are airing entertainment programming, sports programming or opinion shows, which creates a great opportunity for WGN America to provide an alternative in this daypart with News Nation.
‘Across our markets, we consistently hear from viewers who are seeking straight-ahead, unbiased news reporting that is grounded in fact, not opinion. News Nation will deliver exactly that.
‘We’re committed to the success of this ambitious live newscast and digital app.
‘We have a powerful promotional platform in our 197 local television stations, reaching 64 percent of the television households in the U.S., and we intend to use it to support News Nation on air and online.’
WGN America reaches 75million households across the US.