In what veteran Windy City media reporter Robert Feder calls a “surprising” move, Weigel Broadcasting‘s unaffiliated WCIU-26 in Chicago has reached an agreement to become the market’s new affiliate of The CW Network.
This will see the independent station branded as “The U” formaly become “The CW26” with the start of the 2019-2020 television season.
The agreement means programming from The CW will move from FOX-owned WPWR-50, the network’s home in Chicago since July 2016. That affiliation was historic, as it marked the first time CBS Corporation and FOX could reach a deal bringing The CW to a FOX O&O.
Before 2016, The CW Network was found on Tribune’s WGN-9, thanks to its origins with the WB Network; the unification of the WB Network and UPN Network led WGN to go independent.
The arrival of The CW to Weigel’s WCIU does not mean “The U” will disappear. Rather, thanks to multicast technology, it will shift to DT-2.
In a statement, Weigel Vice Chairman Neal Sabin said, “About 25 years ago WCIU became The U and changed the television landscape in Chicago. Now we are embarking on an ambitious plan to once again elevate WCIU and The CW Network’s presence here as a lively and local destination for entertaining and engaging television. We will all have a lot of fun and excitement to share with Chicago’s new The CW26.”
WCIU will continue to air its current non-primetime programming, Feder reports.