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CBS Stations Reveals Primetime Plans for Its 8 Former CW Affiliates Going Independent

CBS has announced that its eight CW-affiliated channels shifting to independent will make the transition on Friday. The network’s stations group revealed plans to change the call letters to those outlets in several markets, as well as primetime plans for those stations going forward.

CBS had previously announced in May that TV stations will be dropping their affiliation with The CW and becoming independent stations would include WPSG Philadelphia (DMA #4), WUPA Atlanta (DMA #6), KBCW San Francisco (DMA #10), KSTW Seattle (DMA #12), WTOG Tampa-St. Petersburg (DMA #13), WKBD Detroit (DMA #14), KMAX Sacramento (DMA #20), and WPCW Pittsburgh (DMA #26).

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Moving forward, KBCW San Francisco will swap call letters to become KPYX and be rebranded as “KPIX+,” mirroring its larger sister station, CBS-owned outlet KPIX. In Pittsburgh, WPCW will change call letters to WPKD-TV and be rebranded as “KDKA+” (mirroring CBS’ main Pittsburgh outlet KDKA). In other markets, call letters will be maintained but the stations will be rebranded with their city and channel position — KSTW Channel 11, Seattle, for example, will be branded as “Seattle 11.”

Some of the stations, including WPSG, WUPA, KPYX, KMAX and WPKD, will replace CW primetime fare with 8 p.m. newscasts on their lineup, while most will run syndicated repeats of CBS News’ “48 Hours” at 9 p.m. (KPYX will run local news at both 8 p.m. and 9 p.m.)

The announcement was made by CBS Stations president Tom Canedo, who oversees the eight stations that will become independents. “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 in a statement. “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.”

Nexstar-owned My Network TV stations WPHL Philadelphia, KRON San Francisco and WTTA Tampa, as well as Gray Television’s WPCH Atlanta (yes, that’s the former SuperStation WTBS) and Hearst’s KQCA Sacramento are already set to become new CW affiliates in those markets, while new affiliates are expected to be announced soon in Seattle, Pittsburgh and Detroit.

As part of the deal linking WPCH, The CW has extended its network affiliation agreement with Gray, which includes affiliates in 55 markets across the country.

ADDED AUGUST 31, 2023: Nexstar has now sealed a deal to add Sinclair’s KOMO Seattle (an ABC affiliate, which presumably means The CW will land on a digital subchannel) and WPNT Pittsburgh (currently a My Network TV outlet) as affils. In Oklahoma City, Nexstar’s KAUT will take over as CW from Sinclair’s KOCB.

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