ABC News’ Adrienne Bankert Joins Nexstar’s NewsNation to Anchor Morning Show

ABC News alumnus Adrienne Bankert has joined Nexstar Media Group’s NewsNation cable channel as an anchor and correspondent.

Bankert is expected to be part of the anchor team for a national morning news program that NewsNation is set to launch later this year. To start, she will cover national affairs and produce special reports for the Chicago-based news operation that launched last September on the cable channel previously known as WGN America. NewsNation has a solid linear distribution base of 75 million households in the U.S.

“Adrienne is a great addition to NewsNation — a talented, experienced journalist who has covered breaking news and important national issues and knows how to tell a story in a compelling fashion,” said Sean Compton, Nexstar’s president of networks who oversees NewsNation. “Adrienne will play a critical role in our plans to expand our news programming even further, assuming anchoring duties on a new national newscast we intend to launch later this year.”

Bankert’s hire is a sign that Nexstar for now is committed to the plan to transform WGN America into a news channel. The rebrand of WGN America’s primetime lineup as “NewsNation” newscasts bowed Sept. 1; the channel formally changed its name to NewsNation on March 1.

NewsNation broadcasts draw on material produced by Nexstar’s nearly 200 local TV stations nationwide. That allows Nexstar to make the the most of its local newsgathering expenditures, and it allows Nexstar to own the programming and control all the advertising time, rather than splitting it up in content licensing deals.

But viewership of the channel has plummeted after the shift from licensed entertainment programs to live news in primetime. Nexstar chief Perry Sook has told investors the company has the incentive to tough it out while the strategy shift takes root. Bankert’s hire is a signal that Nexstar is moving ahead with plans to build out other news dayparts like the lucrative early morning news race.

Nexstar has positioned NewsNation as a down-the-middle news network focused on delivering headlines and lifestyle news to viewers in heartland markets where Nexstar, the nation’s largest owner of TV stations, is strong. NewsNation has faced some behind-the-scenes turmoil after word surfaced that former Fox News leader and Trump administration advisor Bill Shine had been tapped as a consultant. Jennifer Lyons, VP of news for NewsNation and the top producer of the newscasts, left that role in early March and has not been formally replaced.

Bankert has spent the past six years working as a correspondent for ABC News, starting at KABC-TV Los Angeles. From 2017 to 2019 she was part of the weekend anchor team for “Good Morning America.” Before

She’s covered a range of major national news stories during the past decade including the 2016 and 2020 presidential campaigns, the February 2018 mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla. and the rescue of a youth soccer team trapped in a Thailand cave the same year. She’s also covered the entertainment industry closely, landing high profile sit-downs with Lady Gaga, Viola Davis, Will Smith, Dwayne Johnson, Harrison Ford and Brad Pitt.

“Now, more than ever, viewers need a place to turn for all sides of the story,” Bankert said. “They want news they can rely on and trust, along with respect, kindness, and civil discourse. I am thrilled to continue delivering unbiased journalism with a company that truly is on the cutting edge. I’m honored to join the Nexstar family.”

Last year, Bankert published the nonfiction book “Your Hidden Superpower: The Kindness that Makes You Unbeatable at Work and Connects You with Anyone.”

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