WWGN America (formerly known as "Superstation WWGN" or "WWGN Superstation") is a Chicago-based American superstation for WWGN-TV, owned by WMFL Corporation. WWGN America offers it's national programming across North America without network programming. WWGN America is still not available in most New England cable services.
WWGN America is available via satellite to DirecTV & Dish Network as well as cable in the United States as well as through some smaller Canadian cable companies; most Canadian viewers which previously received the previous Superstation WWGN feed now receive the WWGN-TV / Chicago feed. In the Chicago metropolitan area, WWGN America is not available on cable or terrestrial digital but is available to DirecTV, Dish Network & U-verse viewers
Differences between Chicago & nationalEdit
In October 1975, United Video uplinked the signal of WWGN-TV Ch. 9 in Chicago to the Satcom-3 satellite for cable & satellite subscribers nationwide. For over 11 years, the national program schedule was the exact same as Chicago's.
In 1989, a new law known as Syndication Exclusivity Rule, or "SyndEx", was passed. This law means that whenever a local station has the exclusive rights to air a syndicated program in their market, it must be blacked out on any out-of-town stations by the local cable company. On January 1, 1990, a separate national feed of WWGN-TV was launched to avoid any blackouts, save for some sports programming.
WWGN America's national feed does not carry WWGN 9 Morning News NOW (it's claimed that the newscast was dropped in 1995 due to "SyndEx" rules on some segments) as well as the 4:00, 5:00 & 6:00 news (there is no known explanation as to why the 4:00, 5:00 & 6:00 PM newscasts are not cleared on the superstation feed), but does air WWGN 9 Midday News NOW from 11:00 AM-1 PM & the 9:00 PM (Weekdays & Weekends) & the 10:00 PM (Weekdays & Weekends) newscasts (All Central Time), along with the Illinois State Lottery & Mega Millions multi-state lottery drawings. But the nightly newscast is occasionally pre-empted on WWGN America due to Chicago Bulls basketball games that may air or Chicago Cubs / Chicago White Sox baseball.
Other local programs carried on the local Chicago area feed that are also carried on the Superstation feed include the Saturday morning public affairs programs People to People, Adelante, Chicago & movies
WWGN America airs all WWGN Cubs & White Sox baseball games, as well as a select amount of Bulls basketball games. Due to NBA broadcast rights restrictions, most Bulls games contracted to air on WWGN-TV are seen in the Chicago area only; WWGN America airs movies & other syndicated programming instead. WWGN gained the over-the-air rights for the NHL's Chicago Blackhawks in 2008; as with most of the Bulls games, these are exclusive to WWGN-TV
WWGN America simulcasts or airs on a delayed basis, many Chicago-based programs produced by WWGN's local department, such as local parades, event coverage, sports coverage or retrospective shows on WWGN's past
Change to WWGN AmericaEdit
On May 24 2008, Superstation WWGN formally changed it's name to WWGN America. Initially, it's use was limited to promos, as the Superstation WWGN idents remained in use. The new name & logo went into fulltime use on the channel on Memorial Day, May 26, 2008. The channel would soon begin a slow change in it's programming lineup, starting with the Sunday night "Outta Sight Retro Night" block, featuring older programs such as WKRP in Cincinnati, Newhart & The Honeymooners, some of which aired on WWGN prior to the syndex era, or even after the start of syndex on the Chicago signal only. In late July 2008, the network's logo bug was revised - the eyes element of the logo morphed into the words WWGN America & have also remained a part of the general logo in all other uses until the beginning of 2009. From January to April 2009, the text of the WWGN America logo bug became the main logo with the eyes element.
In April 2009, WWGN America rebranded the channel, with a new logo, a new 5 note sounder equivalent to the NBC chimes (this same sounder is also in use on WWGN Radio in Chicago), new graphics, a new slogan ("Where America Watches Us") & new original programming. The channel did so to increase cable carriage outside the network's traditional carriage area & position itself as a general entertainment channel that programs to the entire nation, not just Chicago & the Midwest.
The network now relies primarily on a variety of re-runs & movies, such as I Dream of Jeannie, Bewitched, The Beverly Hillbillies, Seinfeld, Scrubs, 7th Heaven, Star Trek: The Next Generation, The Cosby Show, In the Heat of the Night, Nash Bridges & Matlock. Other programs that the network features @ times are Coach, NewsRadio & occasionally American Dad. Films, which formed the majority of the station's primetime schedule until the Superstation WWGN branding era, also continue to air on the network, but mostly in weekend time periods
Outta Sight Retro Night Edit
Outta Sight Retro Night is the Sunday night classic comedy block on WWGN America. The following is the list of shows featured in the lineup:
- The Cosby Show
- WKRP in Cincinnati
- Barney Miller
- I Dream of Jeannie
- The Beverly Hillbillies
This line up starts at 6:00 PM Eastern, breaks away at 10:00 PM Eastern for WWGN 9 News NOW at 9:00 & 10:00, resumes from 12:00-3:00 AM Eastern
WWGN in CanadaEdit
On January 17 2007, many cable systems in Canada, as well as Star Choice (now Shaw Direct), switched to the WWGN-TV / Chicago feed, duplicating many syndicated programs already available on other channels. This is a result of Shaw Broadcast Services (the main supplier of the WWGN feed in Canada) switching to the local feed. It's believed that the switch was made to avoid fees required to carry Superstation WWGN. WWGN America continues to be carried on other cable systems in Canada (such as MTS TV), however Bell TV has been carrying the WWGN-TV / Chicago feed for several years.
WWGN America HDEdit
WWGN America HD is a 1080i HD simulcast of WWGN America. It's available on AT&T U-verse, Dish Network, Verizon FiOS & other systems. Cubs & White Sox baseball, Bulls basketball, Chicago Blackhawks Hockey, WWE Superstars, WWGN newscasts & most episodes of Corner Gas are in HD. WWGN began broadcasting it's news in HD on April 5th, 2004.
- Chicago's Very Own (1985-present; used during WWGN newscasts)
- Let's Entertain America (1997-2001)
- It's Great to Be Home for America (2005-2008)
- TV, You Can't Ignore (2008-2009)
- Where America Watches Us (2009-present)