World News Now

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"WNN" redirects here. For other uses, see WNN (disambiguation).
For American Broadcasting Company's defunct news channel, see ABC News Now.
World News Now
"World News Now"
Also known as ABC World News Now
Created by David Bohrman
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
Production
Location(s) New York City, New York
Camera setup Multi-camera
Running time 1 hour, 30 minutes
Broadcast
Original channel ABC
Picture format 480i (4:3 SDTV) (1992-2009)
720p (16:9 HDTV) (2009-present)
Original run January 6, 1992 (1992-01-06)  – present
Chronology
Related shows America This Morning
External links
Production website

World News Now (or WNN) is an American overnight television news program that is broadcast on ABC during the early morning hours each Monday through Friday. Its tone is often lighthearted, irreverent and humorous. Created by its original executive producer, David Bohrman, a number of well-known news personalities have anchored WNN early in their careers, including original anchors Aaron Brown and Lisa McRee, Thalia Assuras, Kevin Newman, Alison Stewart, Liz Cho, Anderson Cooper and current World News Tonight anchor David Muir.

WNN is divided into an A, B, C, and D-block, featuring different segments. Top news headlines are in the "front of the book" with reports from ABC NewsOne correspondents or repeated reports from the network's evening news program ABC World News. There is a national weather forecast and an often humorous "kicker" story that ends the A-block. The "back of the book" (blocks B-D) are usually stories from Nightline, BBC reports, or other segments produced in the studio (otherwise known as pre-tapes or petaques), depending on the day of the week.

History[edit]

1991–1993[edit]

In late 1991 and early 1992, WNN and rival newscasts Up to the Minute on CBS and Nightside on NBC were created to compete for viewer demand driven originally by CNN's 24-hour coverage of the Gulf War, and to supply local affiliates with overnight programming (until the creation of these news programs, network stations commonly filled overnight timeslots with movies, syndicated programs, or would go "off-air"). The original working title for the program was World News Overnight;[1] the World News Now name was adopted prior to the first broadcast. The program debuted on January 6, 1992.

In the tradition of NBC News Overnight, it has featured serious as well as offbeat news stories interspersed with odd features such as the "World News Polka" (played by Barry Mitchell on the accordion), video footage of dancing camels on Wednesdays (for "Hump Day"), and laughter coming from off-camera. Weather predictions were made for obscure and exotic places around the world; some of the locales have had various ties to the show, while some have had pop culture significance, including "Cicely, Alaska" and "Twin Peaks, Washington."

The program also often replays clips from other ABC News programs such as Nightline and World News with Diane Sawyer. It has been an apparent training ground for new news anchors (see list below) who eventually go on to higher-profile network or local affiliate positions. The show is also unique for its interactive segments, some of which pioneered the email communication that is commonly used on television newscasts today.[citation needed] The ABC News WNN message board has offered viewers questions and comments from the anchors themselves, during the course of the show.

1994–1998[edit]

On November 23, 1995, World News Now became the first television program to be broadcast live on the Internet, using the CU-SeeMe interface. Victor Dorff, a producer of WNN at the time, arranged to have the show simulcast on the Internet daily for a six-month trial period. CU-SeeMe was also used in a taped interview segment in which anchor Kevin Newman and Global Schoolhouse director and founder Yvonne Marie Andres discussed the future of computers in communication.[2]

World News Now was used as the prototype for Fred, ABC's plan to operate a cable news channel.[3] The plan was floated in 1995 and was later dropped due to issues with cable carriage, including competition with the recently launched MSNBC and Fox News Channel.[4]

In the fall of 1998, ABC News entered into a labor dispute, seeing support employees locked out for several months. While World News This Morning continued to be produced in New York City with substitute production staff, production of World News Now was moved to the news division's London bureau. Mark Mullen returned to WNN during the last month of the lockout.

1999–2008[edit]

World News Now was one of the first shows to webcast; between 1999 and 2001, the program was streamed live for free on the ABC News website.[citation needed] In 2005, the free behind-the-scenes webcast returned.

Among the anchors of the broadcast during this period: David Muir, who became anchor of the weekday editions of World News Tonight in 2014.

On June 8, 2006, ABC White House Correspondent Martha Raddatz learned of the death of terrorist Abu Musab al-Zarqawi near Baqubah, Iraq. Upon confirmation of the tip, ABC ran a special report at 2:38 a.m. ET, anchored by the WNN team of Ron Corning and Taina Hernandez. The show, normally repeated on tape after the initial broadcast, instead went live for all time zones and into follow-up program World News This Morning. The on-air and behind-the-scenes staff stayed on until Good Morning America began and took over coverage at 7:00 a.m. ET.[5]

In January 2007, WNN celebrated its 15th anniversary with the brief resurrection of the National Temperature Index (see below) and a new version of the "World News Polka." On August 2, 2007, WNN abandoned its normal format and ran nearly continuous coverage of the I-35W Mississippi River bridge collapse in Minneapolis. WNN coverage was anchored by Hernández and Stephanie Sy and continued into America This Morning.

Taina Hernandez left the show on December 18, 2007, in order to spend more time with her children, while Ryan Owens announced on February 29, 2008, that he was leaving the show to become a full-time correspondent for ABC News. During the week of January 7, 2008, WNN celebrated 16 years on the air with segments looking back on the early days of the broadcast and its anchors. Jeremy Hubbard was named co-anchor of WNN on March 17, 2008; Vinita Nair was named Hubbard's co-anchor on September 17, 2008.

2009–2011[edit]

On September 22, 2009, World News Now became the first network overnight newscast to begin broadcasting in high definition.

On July 9, 2010, Jeremy Hubbard left WNN to become a full-time correspondent for ABC News, Rob Nelson replaced Hubbard and joined Vinita Nair at the anchor desk. In Hubbard's honor, the World News Now staff took a look back at his time with the program and as is tradition at the program, Hubbard had his likeness raised into the ABC News rafters. There was also a polka, sung to Hubbard's dog Jake, and Jeremy received a cutout of his likeness as a going away present and welcomed his replacement, Rob Nelson.[6]

On January 24, 2011, World News Now debuted new graphics for all of the program's segments and began using a new set, a side view of the current set of ABC World News. On February 17, 2011, Nair announced that the next night's (February 18) broadcast would be her last as co-anchor of World News Now. The February 18 edition paid tribute to Nair in each of its three segments, including appearances from current and former colleagues including Jeremy Hubbard. Her legacy was to treat the crew to a hot breakfast on her last day. A brief send-off by Nelson to Nair was also given at the conclusion of America This Morning. Former KDVR anchor Peggy Bunker was named as interim successor.

On March 11, 2011, WNN went live in all time zones to provide coverage of the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami in Japan, featuring updates and pictures from NHK World; the coverage continued during America This Morning and Good Morning America. On July 21, 2011, Bunker announced that she would be leaving World News Now after the July 22 broadcast. The July 22 edition acknowledged her departure in the first and last of its three, half-hour segments. Also, a brief send-off by Nelson to Bunker was given at the conclusion of America This Morning. Bunker subsequently joined Seattle ABC affiliate KOMO-TV.

Starting July 25, 2011, ABC News rotated Tanya Rivero, Diana Alvear, and Linsey Davis as co-anchors alongside Nelson until a permanent co-anchor was named. On September 19, 2011, Alvear and Davis were taken out of the rotation and Rivero became sole co-anchor. On October 14, 2011, Rivero moved to ABC's daytime news programs and was replaced by Yunji De Nies as a substitute anchor the following program. On October 27, 2011, Paula Faris was named co-anchor of World News Now, taking over the role on January 2, 2012.

2012–present[edit]

On January 6, 2012, the program celebrated its 20th anniversary. Clips and outtakes of the first two decades of WNN were shown throughout that night's broadcast.[7] On June 11, 2012, the longtime segment "Morning Papers" was replaced by "The Mix"; instead of featuring off-beat headlines from various national and international newspapers, the segment focuses on stories found online.

On January 18, 2013, Paula Faris announced that she would be departing World News Now after the January 22 broadcast;[8] on the night Faris left the program, a brief send-off by Nelson to Faris was given at the conclusion of America This Morning. Diana Perez was named as Faris's successor. On March 12, 2013, Rob Nelson announced that he would be leaving the program effective March 15, 2013 to become a full-time correspondent for ABC News.[9] John Muller was named as successor.

Marci Gonzalez filled in for Perez while she was on maternity leave from January 6, 2014, to March 26, 2014. On May 29, 2014, Diana Perez announced she was leaving to spend time with her family. John Muller and the staff celebrated her tenure in all 3 half-hour segments on May 30th, including a visit by former co-anchor Rob Nelson, who said she was the last of 16 co-anchors he had served with on WNN. On June 12, 2014, John Muller announced he was leaving WNN to go back to his old job at WPIX.

Production[edit]

Newscast structure[edit]

First half-hour[edit]

(Airs live beginning at 2:00 AM ET)

Block Standard content
A Top stories
B Presentation of packaged segment.
C Skinny
D Skinny Bonus Round (optional), On Fridays: Friday Rewind

Second half-hour[edit]

(Airs live beginning at 2:30 AM ET)

Block Standard content
A Top stories
B
C
D Insomniac Theater (Monday and Friday)

Third half-hour[edit]

(Pre-recorded at 1:30 AM ET, airs beginning at 3:00 AM ET)

Block Standard content
A Top stories
B
C
D The Mix (Friday mornings, shortened and then followed by "World News Now Polka.")

Regular segments[edit]

  • Top Stories
  • Weather
  • Kicker story
  • What to Watch (stories to follow throughout the day)
  • Our Favorite Story of the Day
  • The Skinny (an entertainment news, celebrity and pop-culture segment)
  • The Mix (off-beat stories, viral videos, funny photographs)

B, C & D-blocks[edit]

After the A-block, the rest of the half-hour is produced using the following segments:

  • Nightline – The first story of the primary topic of Nightline is showcased from the previous night (or Friday, if it airs on Monday morning).
  • This Week (Monday mornings only) – The "Roundtable" segment, a debate of pundits from both sides of politics, is featured.
  • ABC News Vault – A look back at how ABC News covered a story of historical importance, which usually corresponds to the date of the broadcast.
  • American Landscape – Team coverage of a major national or international story from the perspective of a local ABC station or affiliate that covers it, with excerpts from that station's newscasts (commonly the late evening newscast). The segment, which is now rarely seen, is often edited for time, which is noticeable with sudden jumps of the station's time bug (if that station uses one during their newscasts) and jumps between and during story packages.
  • GizWizDick DeBartolo talks about and demonstrates the newest gadgets and technology.
  • Viewers' Voice – A segment where the anchors read viewer opinions about a specific topic from the Facebook website or e-mail inbox.
  • Insomniac Theater – Appearing on Mondays, the segment features a World News Now staff member giving their review (from a score of 1 to 5) of a recent movie release. This segment is ad-libbed and usually contains a SOT from the movie EPK. Previously the anchors reviewed the films.
  • Insomniac KitchenWNN anchors visit a local New York City restaurant to get ideas for late-night snacks that viewers can make at home.

Special segments[edit]

  • Friday mornings close with some version of the "World News Polka," usually performed by the song's composer, comedian Barry Mitchell. A scroll of the show's production credits are also run at the same time.
  • When an anchor of numerous broadcasts finally leaves, a ceremony of sorts is held on their last broadcast. As the first few anchors moved on, cardboard cutouts were placed in the rafters of the studio for the "Anchor Hall of Fame." Today, this is done with a graphics sequence of a head-shot of the anchor moved into a graphic of the original set's rafters and monitors.

Segments no longer used[edit]

  • Randomly, throughout the broadcast, a "new e-mail" sound effect will be heard. This is then followed by the ABC News announcer Bill Rice reading aloud an e-mail from a viewer. The anchors then respond (sometimes humorously) to the message.
  • The National Temperature Index (NTI)WNN featured the National Temperature Index (NTI), which is the sum of the day's forecast high temperatures for Boston, Massachusetts; Casper, Wyoming; Dallas, Texas; Denver, Colorado; Fargo, North Dakota; Las Vegas, Nevada; Miami, Florida; New Orleans, Louisiana; Raleigh, North Carolina; and Seattle, Washington. The NTI appeared during nightly weather segments until January 6, 2003. It was reintroduced on January 5, 2007, but was dropped again one month later in mid-February. The NTI was originally discontinued when staff meteorologist Gerard McNiff revealed the method used for its calculation to San Francisco Bay Area meteorologist Jan Null,[10] who published the formula in the San Jose Mercury News.[11]
  • Leah at the Movies – A segment in which then-People Magazine film critic Leah Rozen would give her top picks for new releases of the week, along with box office projections.
  • Their News NowWorld News Now would check in with a different news producer at a local ABC affiliate around the country each night to see what stories they were working on in their local market. This was usually rotated between four or five local markets, which included Seattle and Denver, and was discontinued sometime in 2005 when "American Landscape" was expanded to a nightly segment.
  • World News Now "InsomniACTS" – Local jazz bands, typically from around the New York City area, would be invited into the studio to play a number on-the-air.
  • World News Knows – A quick useless knowledge fact flashed on the screen some nights after a return from a commercial.
  • WNN also featured a full sportscast, which became a scene of comedic fodder for many anchors on the show since many of them did not have a great deal of experience calling sports highlights. This was later replaced by a scoreboard graphic displaying sports scores coming out of a commercial break, leaving time for more general segments.
  • Asia Business Now – A daily segment with overnight Asian business news with an anchor from Japan's NHK network. This was referenced in the early editions of the "World News Polka" as "business news from Tokyo."
  • Financial News from the BBC – Featuring Declan Curry or other BBC anchors, presenting an update on the European financial markets from the London Stock Exchange. The BBC presenters typically stood in front of a video wall looking out on a London intersection, and sometimes a small counter at the bottom of the screen would note the number of double-decker buses that passed by in the background.
  • World News ThenWorld News Now would present segments from ABC news program archives that related to or contrasted with a current event. As a bonus, they would also often show a commercial or two that aired during the original broadcast.
  • Morning Papers – A segment featuring several different off-beat stories or funny pictures found in newspapers around the world. It was replaced by "The Mix" in 2012, which is a more modern version using online stories (some of which may come from a newspaper's website).

Scheduling[edit]

The show is produced and airs in three half-hour segments from 1:30 to 3:00 a.m. ET Monday through Friday mornings, and is transmitted in a continuous 90-minute tape delayed loop until 8:00 a.m. ET, when America This Morning begins in certain areas of the Pacific Time Zone. America This Morning airs live to the network at 4 a.m. ET (which is anchored and produced by the same team as World News Now, although the program is branded as a tie-in to Good Morning America) and is also tape delayed for many ABC stations. Most ABC stations do not air the entire program loop of WNN and preempt portions of the program due to local programming (usually infomercials or syndicated fare) – joining the program in progress anywhere from five minutes to as much as two hours after the start of the newscast – with affiliates looping the show until America This Morning airs.

Although most ABC stations clear the program, a small number of affiliates do not air World News Now:

  • Hearst Television's WCVB-TV in Boston, airs WNN; since the fall of 2010 for unknown reasons, however, Canadian subscribers of the Bell TV satellite and Bell Fibe TV fiber optic television services are unable to view WNN over WCVB, which the providers preempt with infomercials instead.
  • WAWV in Terre Haute, Indiana, owned by Mission Broadcasting, did not clear World News Now when the station rejoined ABC in September 2011, following a 16-year absence of an over-the-air ABC affiliate in the market (it was an ABC affiliate at the time World News Now debuted, but was a Fox affiliate from 1995 to 2011); WAWV instead carries syndicated programming in place of WNN, as it does with the network's Saturday morning children's program block Litton's Weekend Adventure.
  • WVII-TV in Bangor, Maine preempts the program in favor of programming from the shopping network Jewelry Television.
  • In addition, WDAY-TV in Fargo, North Dakota and its satellite WDAZ-TV in Grand Forks, North Dakota, KQTV in St. Joseph, Missouri, WOAY-TV in Oak Hill, West Virginia and WSVI-TV in the U.S. Virgin Islands also do not clear World News Now for broadcast as they sign-off overnight.
  • Another Hearst-owned ABC affiliate, KOCO-TV in Oklahoma City does clear the program. However from November 2010 to September 2012, it only carried the Tuesday-Friday editions, while the Monday edition of WNN was preempted due to syndicated programming and infomercials. The preemption of the Monday editions of World News Now began following the expansion of KOCO-TV's weekday morning newscast to 4:30 a.m., which pushed the timeslot of America This Morning ahead by a half-hour; prior to November 2010, the station aired a 25-minute block of the Monday edition joined in progress in-between an infomercial and America This Morning. The Monday edition began airing on the station again – with the 90-minute block airing in full – in September 2012, following a purge of syndicated programs and infomercials from KOCO's Sunday overnight schedule.
  • Until September 2011, three ABC stations owned by Citadel Communications did not air World News Now, as KCAU-TV in Sioux City, Iowa, KLKN in Lincoln, Nebraska and WOI-TV in Ames, Iowa (Des Moines) all signed off the air during the overnight hours; the stations were among the few television stations remaining in the United States not operating on a 24-hour schedule. WLNE-TV in New Bedford, Massachusetts (Providence, Rhode Island), which was acquired by Citadel in April 2011, and prior to September, was the only Citadel-owned ABC affiliate that carried both a 24-hour schedule and cleared World News Now.

Criticism[edit]

Taina Hernandez has been criticized in the national press for laughing during various segments, some of them serious. She laughed through the story of Owen Wilson's attempted suicide, and she and co-host Ryan Owens have giggled through segments on terrorism and the Iraq War.[12] These laughing fits have earned her the nickname "The Laughing Taina."

WNN anchor timeline[edit]

From To Anchors
01/1992 01/1993 Aaron Brown and Lisa McRee
01/1993 05/1993 Aaron Brown
05/1993 06/1993 Aaron Brown and Thalia Assuras
06/1993 11/1994 Thalia Assuras and Boyd Matson
11/1994 04/1996 Thalia Assuras and Kevin Newman
04/1996 01/1997 Thalia Assuras and Mark Mullen
01/1997 12/1998 Mark Mullen and Asha Blake
01/1999 02/2000 Juju Chang and Anderson Cooper
02/2000 08/2000 Anderson Cooper and Alison Stewart
08/2000 02/2002 Alison Stewart and Derek McGinty
02/2002 06/2003 Derek McGinty and Liz Cho
07/2003 12/2003 Andrea Stassou and David Muir
12/2003 08/2004 David Muir and Tamala Edwards
08/2004 01/2005 Tamala Edwards and Ron Corning
01/2005 12/2005 Ron Corning and Heather Cabot
12/2005 08/2006 Ron Corning and Taina Hernandez
08/2006 02/2007 Taina Hernandez and Hari Sreenivasan
02/2007 12/2007 Taina Hernandez and Ryan Owens
12/2007 02/2008 Ryan Owens and alternating subs Gigi Stone, Christianne Klein and Tanya Rivero
02/2008 03/2008 Tanya Rivero and alternating subs Gigi Stone and Christianne Klein
03/2008 05/2008 Jeremy Hubbard and alternating subs Gigi Stone, Christianne Klein, and Tanya Rivero
05/2008 07/2010 Jeremy Hubbard and Vinita Nair
07/2010 02/2011 Vinita Nair and Rob Nelson
02/2011 07/2011 Rob Nelson and Peggy Bunker
07/2011 10/2011 Rob Nelson and alternating subs Tanya Rivero, Diana Alvear, and Linsey Davis
10/2011 01/2012 Rob Nelson and alternating subs Yunji De Nies, Cecilia Vega,[13] Sunny Hostin
01/2012 01/2013 Rob Nelson and Paula Faris
01/2013 02/2013 Rob Nelson and alternating subs Sunny Hostin, Diana Perez and Brandi Hitt
02/2013 03/2013 Rob Nelson and Diana Perez
03/2013 05/2014 Diana Perez and John Muller and subs Marci Gonzalez, Linzie Janis, Tai Hernandez, Rob Nelson and Rob Powers
05/2014 06/2014 John Muller and subs Linzie Janis, Reena Ninan
06/2014 09/2014 TBD, subs Tahman Bradley, Devin Dwyer, Michelle Franzen, Matt Gutman, Brandi Hitt, Dan Kloeffler, Muhammad Lila, Reena Ninan, Ryan Smith
10/2014 Present T. J. Holmes and subs Reena Ninan, Michelle Franzen

References[edit]

External links[edit]