CBS Drops CW Affiliation for 8 Stations, Makes Them Independent

Reported by Kevin Eck, TVSpy

All eight CBS-owned stations that are currently affiliates of The CW network will transition to independent stations, beginning Friday, September 1.

The announcement was made by CBS Stations president Tom Canedo, who oversees the eight stations.

As part of the transition, KBCW in San Francisco will change its call letters to KPYX and be branded as KPIX+, and WPCW in Pittsburgh will change its call letters to WPKD and be branded as KDKA+. The stations’ new brands align with the call letters for their CBS sister stations, KPIX in San Francisco and KDKA in Pittsburgh. The other six stations will keep their current call letters and will be branded with the city where they are based and channel number (e.g. KSTW-TV, Seattle11).

The new independent stations’ fall schedules will feature a total of seven local, one-hour newscasts. The 8 p.m. newscasts on WPSG Philadelphia, KMAX Sacramento and KDKA+ Pittsburgh will be the only local newscasts airing in their respective markets during that hour. And the 8 p.m. and 9 p.m. newscasts on KPIX+ will be the only local newscasts airing in the Bay Area during those hours. KPIX+ is also airing a new local 7 to 9 a.m. newscast, The Morning Edition from CBS News Bay Area.

In addition, seven of the new independents will air CBS News’ 48 Hours in primetime, beginning Monday, Sept. 11, when the series launches in weekday syndication.

“We are excited to be in this unique position that allows us to reimagine our local brands and programming lineups at these eight stations,” Canedo said. “We are beginning by opportunistically establishing local news beachheads in primetime in several markets. And the timing couldn’t be better for us as we look forward to the upcoming launch of 48 Hours in weekday syndication. These are the first brush strokes on a fresh canvas. We will continue to seek out opportunities to add even more local programming, including live sports and shows from across the Paramount Global brands in the months ahead.”

The change came after Nexstar acquired the CW last year. CBS had the right to pull its affiliations, according to one source familiar with the deal. “It was part of the arrangement,” said the source.

Currently, there are 203 CW stations that cover 99.5 percent of U.S. households.

“Since our acquisition of The CW Network last October, we have known that Paramount Global might transition the network affiliations of eight of its company-owned stations later this year,” according to a statement from Nexstar Media Group at the time of their acquisition. “We are prepared for this possibility and confident that The CW Network will continue reaching 100% of U.S. television households without interruption. Paramount’s decision affects a limited portion of The CW’s nationwide reach, and we have already received multiple expressions of interest from station groups hoping to deepen their relationship with The CW by aligning more of their stations with the network.”

Below is a snapshot of the weeknight schedules for the eight newest independents owned by CBS. These programs will debut on Friday, September 1, with the exception of 48 HOURS, which will premiere on Monday, September 11, and the 8 p.m. newscast on KDKA+, which will debut in November.