WGN’s Joe Donlon named weeknight anchor for Nexstar’s ‘News Nation’

Joe Donlon

Nexstar Media Group has unveiled a lineup of anchors and correspondents for its upcoming nightly national newscast that includes three familiar faces from “Chicago’s Very Own” WGN-Channel 9.

Joe Donlon, who co-anchors the 5, 6, 9 and 10 p.m. newscasts at WGN, will lead the Monday-through-Friday anchor team for “News Nation,” set to debut September 1 on WGN America cable network. Originating from WGN studios, it will air from 7 to 10 p.m. seven nights a week.

“It has been an honor to share the news set with some of the iconic personalities who introduced the nation to WGN as a superstation,” said Donlon, who spent 21 years at NBC affiliate KGW in Portland, Oregon, before he was tapped to succeed Mark Suppelsa at WGN in 2018. “Now, I’ll get to follow in their footsteps as we launch another ambitious project across the country on WGN America.”

No word on who’ll replace Donlon alongside Micah Materre on WGN’s local newscasts after September 1.

Tom Negovan

Also joining the network startup are two former WGN reporters. Tom Negovan, who left WGN in February after 15 years, will serve as New York bureau correspondent. Nancy Loo, who signed off from WGN last month after 10 years, will serve as Los Angeles bureau correspondent.

Donlon, Negovan and Loo were among 12 new hires announced today by Dallas-based Nexstar Media Group.

Overseeing “News Nation” is Jennifer Lyons, who was named vice president of news for WGN America after more than 25 years at WGN, including the last six as news director.

“We’re adding more than 130 ‘News Nation’ staff members to the 5,400 Nexstar journalists already reporting from local communities across the U.S.,” Lyons said. “We have assembled extraordinary teams both in front of and behind the cameras. They are true journalists coming together with a clear mission: ‘Your News, Your Nation.’ I think you’re going to learn so much about our country through them.”

Joining Donlon on weeknight editions of “News Nation” will be co-anchor Marni Hughes from Fox-owned KCPQ in Seattle; breaking news anchor Rob Nelson from ABC News; and meteorologist Albert Ramon from ABC affiliate KVUE in Austin, Texas.

Nancy Loo

Weekends will be anchored by Rudabeh Shahbazi from CBS-owned WFOR in Miami and Nichole Berlie of ABC affiliate WCVB in Boston. Joining them will be breaking news anchor Aaron Nolan from NBC affiliate KARK in Little Rock, Arkansas; and meteorologist Gerard Jebaily from NBC affiliate KSHB in Kansas City, Missouri.

In addition to Negovan and Loo, other regional reporters will be Dallas bureau correspondent Markie Martin from ABC affiliate KOCO in Oklahoma City, and Miami bureau correspondent Brian Entin from Fox affiliate WSVN in Miami.

“Our on-air anchors and reporters, as well as those guiding the off-camera newsgathering process, are award-winning journalists who understand the importance of being objective,” said Sean Compton, executive vice president of WGN America.

“They reflect the diversity of our country and will be the backbone of ‘News Nation,’ as WGN America begins charting a new course in television news, designed for the millions of viewers across the U.S. who want their news to be accurate, fair and without opinion.”

Perry Sook, president and CEO of Nexstar Media Group, said in a statement: “Now more than ever, viewers rely on television news to stay informed about everything from the latest pandemic developments to the reopening of the economy and the upcoming election. We have an opportunity, a mission and the resources nationwide to bring Americans breaking news stories and live coverage delivered by reporters who know the local community and can provide unbiased coverage of events from coast to coast and deep in the heartland.

“Nexstar has the largest newsgathering organization in the country, with 5,400 journalists in newsrooms throughout the U.S., and Sean and Jennifer have curated an exceptional team for ‘News Nation.’ These journalists have broad experience, strong records of journalistic excellence, and their local perspectives will create a new fact-based and unbiased national news platform.

“We will be presenting news in a way that is free of any particular point of view as we debut ‘News Nation’ on September 1 and we are confident that there are more Americans than ever who are seeking just that.”

Monday’s comment of the day: Jim Hirsch: The lawsuit seems like a publicity stunt to keep this story alive a bit longer. Personally I think it matters little if [Amy Jacobson] attends briefings or not given that she more closely resembles a minor league Laura Ingraham than a journalist. It’s all about ratings and eyeballs, and too bad if the Constitution gets in the way. We need better from all sides.