Sinclair Broadcast Group is launching a streaming news channel, named 2020 Live, to carry unfiltered presidential campaign events with no commentators or anchors, the company announced Tuesday. The tagline for the new channel: “No analysis. No Spin. Just Live.”
The move underscores the new commitment by the network — once known for its conservative political voice — to limit political commentary: Two of its opinion hosts, conservative commentator Boris Epshteyn and left-leaning Ameshia Cross, were dropped from their role in December. Epshteyn has since been named an adviser to Trump 2020, according to a tweet by Tim Murtaugh, director of communications for the re-election effort.
The new channel will appear on Sinclair’s streaming platform STIRR, which offers 100 channels and carries local news programming from station partners, as well as content such as the impeachment hearings, from a national news desk.
“It’s kind of like C-Span without any anchors," Adam Ware, Sinclair's general manager, told NBC News. "It’s going from live feed to live feed from campaign events.”
When there are no active campaigns to broadcast, the screen will display a "Come back tomorrow" message, Ware explained.
The move is one of several examples of an expansion by the news industry, at a time when a record $10 billion in political advertising at stake. Some outlets will broadcast campaign events live, and others will offer daily news shows on entertainment platforms.
Nexstar station group announced last week it is planning to rebrand a prime time block of programming on cable channel WGN, replacing re-runs and entertainment with straight news.
Additionally, investment firm Hicks Equity Partners is reportedly eyeing a potential acquisition of One America News Network, a pro-Trump cable news channel, according to The Wall Street Journal. Hicks has strong ties to President Donald Trump through Thomas Hicks Jr., who is co-chairman of the Republican National Committee.
While some might say they’re fatigued with news about — and from — the White House, MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow, a liberal commentator, last week scored her highest rating ever, when 4.5 million viewers tuned in to see her interview with Lev Parnas, the indicted associate of President Donald Trump's personal attorney Rudy Giuliani.