INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — The Indianapolis television home for many Indianapolis Colts games, the "Late Show with David Letterman" and other CBS programming will switch to WTTV on Jan. 1, the network announced Monday, ending a nearly six-decade affiliation with WISH-TV.
CBS Corp. and Tribune Broadcasting announced a long-term agreement that renews existing affiliation agreements in other cities and scraps the affiliation with LIN Media's WISH (Channel 8) in less than five months.
The deal will let WTTV (Channel 4) broadcast top sports events including the Masters golf tournament, the NCAA men's basketball tournament and NFL games as well as other CBS programs including "NCIS" and "60 Minutes."
WTTV is a sister station of WXIN-TV, the Fox affiliate in Indianapolis.
Rick Gevers, an Indianapolis-based agent who represents on-air television news talent, told the Indianapolis Business Journal that it would be challenging for WTTV to begin a local newscast by January. WTTV would have to hire news anchors, field reporters, weather forecasters and videographers.
"Getting everything in place in just four months would be, I'd say, almost impossible without at least initially leaning on WXIN," Gevers said.
Local on-air news people have contracts with local station owners, not the stations' national affiliates, which means the on-air talent at WISH is under contract to LIN Media.
WISH also has "a big challenge ahead of it" in finding new programming to fill the void left by the CBS departure, Gevers said.
"I'm sure they're all in shock there," he said.
WISH news director Steve Bray declined to comment on the shift in stations.
WISH has been the Indianapolis affiliate for CBS since 1956.
Variety.com reports that WISH owner Lin Media and CBS couldn't agree on fees WISH would pay CBS to extend its affiliation.
CBS' agreement with Tribune Broadcasting also includes early renewals for four Tribune Media-owned CBS affiliates: WREG-TV in Memphis, Tennessee; WHNT-TV in Huntsville, Alabama; KFSM-TV in Ft. Smith, Arkansas; and WTVR-TV in Richmond, Virginia.