Broadcast journalist Ashleigh Banfield made her mark in cable information throughout 9/11 and its aftermath. She’s reported from Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran, Syria and different far-flung scorching spots. However there’s one type of TV she’s by no means had the possibility to strive, till now.
Banfield has signed on with WGN America to host a ten p.m. ET discuss present on weeknights beginning March 1. “Banfield” is billed as a brand new tackle the type of program that Larry King hosted for CNN within the 9 p.m. hour for 25 years. The interview-driven present will concentrate on newsmakers and points but in addition celebrities and human curiosity tales.
“I’m an avid information junkie. One thing that’s been lacking for me as a client has been the middle lane,” Banfield advised Selection. “I’m exhausted by the breathless fights in cable information and I lengthy for the times once I may simply be told of what was taking place nationally and internationally with out angle.”
Banfield emphasised that she was a daily viewer of “Larry King Reside” throughout its future on CNN, the place she additionally labored, and he or she is taking inspiration from his deep-dive format.
“Larry King used to dig deep into his material. He had the time and he wasn’t rushed. He wasn’t fearful about bells and whistles and graphics,” she mentioned. “He had the time to slow down, dig in and actually really feel the story.”
This system will originate from a studio in Connecticut. Banfield mentioned shall be anchored by a sit-down interview with a notable determine. Some episodes might have multiple visitor. Hiring for manufacturing positions on the present has already begun, she mentioned.
“It’s going to be a really booking-driven present” Banfield mentioned. “The manager producer shall be anyone extraordinarily effectively versed within the artwork of reserving expertise.”
The arrival of “Banfield” will exchange the third hour of WGN America’s three-hour nationwide primetime newscast, “Information Nation,” which launched on Sept. 1. The three-hour information block changed comedy and drama reruns and low-cost imports on WGN America’s primetime slot. The plan is so as to add extra hours of reports programming earlier within the day, however Nexstar has not but confirmed specifics.
Viewership of “NewsNation” has up to now been weak. WGN America is down as a lot as 40% or extra for the reason that newscast debuted. Recruiting Banfield for an interview showcase sequence within the aggressive 10 p.m. hour is an indication of WGN America proprietor Nexstar Media Group’s dedication to investing in and nurturing the “Information Nation” idea. Common linear rankings in primetime are down beneath the 100,000 viewer threshold. However Nexstar Media has purpose to be affected person.
“Information Nation” is produced partly with contributions from native information operations on the firm’s almost 200 stations across the nation, providing pure efficiencies for a corporation that employs 5,600 journalists. If the rankings pickup, the upside on “NewsNation” for Nexstar is big as a result of the corporate owns the content material outright and controls all advert stock within the profitable primetime day half. As a bonus it’s produced with nice effectivity, harnessing the facility of Nexstar’s attain because the nation’s largest proprietor of TV stations.
“As WGN America begins increasing its programming and distribution in 2021, Ashleigh’s nationwide enchantment and community expertise will assist us attain new viewers searching for steadiness, not bias in information reporting, and discuss programming that gives a number of factors of view,” mentioned Sean Compton, President, Networks, Nexstar Media Group. “We’re excited so as to add ‘Banfield’ to our rising lineup of reports programming.”
Banfield has had a protracted profession in TV information, working as an anchor and correspondent for CNN, HLN, MSNBC, ABC Information, NBC Information, TruTV and Courtroom TV amongst others. At current she is a authorized analyst for Courtroom TV and contributor to Investigation Discovery.
Banfield mentioned she’s been making an attempt to take a stab at an interview present for almost 20 years, since she returned to New York for MSNBC after internet hosting the sequence “A Area In Battle” and “On Location” for the information cabler. However even then, she tried to influence MSNBC executives to let her “morph” the present right into a studio-based discuss present.
“It wasn’t within the playing cards however the need to do that has by no means left me,” Banfield mentioned. “I’ve been doing information for 33 years — nothing fazes me. I can do any form of information you want.”
However the alternative for free-flowing conversations with outstanding folks is extraordinarily interesting.
“There’s nothing extra satisfying that to have the ability to observe a vein of attention-grabbing dialog and not using a countdown in my ear,” she mentioned.