Telemundo Station Group will launch a new, 30-minute local newscast at 5 p.m. (4 p.m. CT) at 14 of its stations starting Sept. 26.
The additional newscasts come less than two years after the 14 stations added local news programs at 5:30 p.m. (ET). It replaces The Best of Caso Cerrado, a repeat of the popular courtroom series featuring Dr. Ana Maria Polo.
Original Caso Cerrado episodes will continue to air weekdays at 3 p.m. and 7 p.m.
“The Telemundo-owned stations have transformed local Spanish-language news and the way Hispanic communities receive the local information that matters to them,” Telemundo Station Group president Manuel Martinez said. “This local news investment serves as a testament to our deep-rooted commitment and our sense of responsibility as local broadcasters to ensure that our Spanish-language viewers, who have been underserved for far too long, receive best-in-class local news and up-to-the-minute weather forecasts and have access to important consumer information they need to help them stay ahead and be empowered consumers.”
The early newscast will be added in these markets: Chicago; Dallas; Denver; Houston; Las Vegas; Los Angeles; Miami; New York; Philadelphia; Phoenix, Ariz.; McAllen-Brownsville-Harlingen, Texas; San Antonio; San Francisco-Oakland-San Jose, Calif.; and Tucson, Ariz. Telemundo Station Group expects to immediately hire at least 30 additional employees to boost the local newsrooms.
In an interview with Multichannel News, Telemundo network president Luis Silberwasser credited both Martinez and NBCUniversal Owned Television Stations president Valeri Staab in looking at consumer behavior and determining a need for a Spanish-language newscast at a time when many non-Hispanics are just leaving the office or sitting in traffic.
“The Hispanic audience is being underserved with respect to local news, and we are investing in the equipment, talent and story-telling to fill the void,” he said. “The combination of local news and network programming shows that we are responding to the need for a deeper consumer connection.”