Independent Network News (TV program)

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Independent Network News
Also known as
  • INN: The Independent News (1984–1987)
  • USA Tonight (1987–1990)
GenreNews program
Created by
  • John Corporon
  • Leavitt Pope
Presented by
  • Bill Jorgensen (1980–1983)
  • Steve Bosh (1980–1984)
  • Pat Harper (1980–1985)
  • Brad Holbrook (1984–1985; 1988–1990)
  • Morton Dean (1985–1988)
  • Shelia Stainback (1985–1990)
Opening theme"Industrial Power" by Johnny Pearson (1980-1984)
"Independent Network News Theme" by Klein & (1984-1987)
"USA Tonight" by Michael Karp (1987-1990)
Country of originUnited States
Original language(s)English
No. of seasons10
Production
Production location(s)Daily News Building, New York City
Camera setupMulti-camera
Running time30 minutes
Production company(s)
DistributorTribune Entertainment
Release
Original networkSyndication
Picture format480i (SDTV)
Original releaseJune 9, 1980 (1980-06-09) – June 1990 (1990-06)

The Independent Network News (INN) (later retitled INN: The Independent News and USA Tonight) is an American syndicated television news program that ran from June 9, 1980 to June 1990. The program aired seven nights a week on various independent stations across the United States and was designed to serve those stations in the same manner that the "Big Three" network news programs – ABC World News Tonight, NBC Nightly News and the CBS Evening News – served their affiliates.

History[edit]

The program debuted on June 9, 1980 under its original title Independent Network News. The newscast was a production of Tribune Broadcasting's New York City station WPIX, and was distributed by Tribune's syndication division as one of the first programs that the company produced for the syndication market. As INN was produced at WPIX, that station's on-air news staff presided over the broadcast. The nightly broadcast was helmed by a three-anchor team consisting of Pat Harper, Bill Jorgensen, and Steve Bosh with Jerry Girard reporting on sports and Roberto Tirado providing national weather forecasts (Tirado would later be replaced by Bob Harris), and WPIX's local reporting staff was also utilized for the program. Saturday and Sunday editions of INN were added to the schedule in October 1980.[1]

INN also used reports from its member stations, the Associated Press, United Press International, Visnews, and later CNN to supplement its own coverage. WPIX transmitted the national show's live feed at 9:30 p.m. Eastern Time.[2] In the New York City area, WPIX paired a replay of the national INN broadcast at 10 p.m., with its own local newscast at 10:30, called the Action News Metropolitan Report.

As part of a midday expansion of INN starting in 1981, WPIX also experimented with a half-hour midday newscast at 12:30 p.m. that was co-anchored by Marvin Scott; this followed the national broadcast which aired at noon. During the decade, WPIX also offered the business-oriented news program The Wall Street Journal Report (which continues to air today in syndication and also airs on CNBC, albeit under the name of On the Money); and the Sunday newsmaker show From the Editor's Desk, hosted by Richard D. Heffner, to stations carrying INN.

Bill Jorgensen left the program (and WPIX) in 1983. Bosh and Harper continued to anchor together for another year until Bosh departed in 1984 to join KDFW-TV in Dallas. Brad Holbrook, who joined the operation a year earlier, became co-anchor with Harper. Also in 1984, WPIX dropped its Action News branding for the station's local newscasts and decided to rebrand its 7:30 and 10:30 p.m. newscasts as INN: The Independent News, while it cancelled the midday newscast.

In January 1985, Holbrook's duties were reduced to the 7:30 PM local newscast on WPIX and he was replaced on the national INN broadcast and the 10:30 PM local newscast by veteran CBS News correspondent Morton Dean. Four months later Pat Harper left WPIX after over a decade to take over for John Hambrick as Chuck Scarborough's co-anchor on WNBC's 6:00 PM newscast, necessitating replacements for her on all three of WPIX's news productions; on the national broadcast, former WBAL-TV anchor Sheila Stainback was brought in to be Dean's new co-anchor.

In January 1987, the national INN newscast was renamed USA Tonight and kept that name for the remainder of its run (WPIX, in turn, renamed the local broadcast that followed to New York Tonight). The anchor team was also split up, as Sheila Stainback was reduced to anchoring the WPIX local broadcast that followed the national news which Morton Dean began anchoring himself. A year later Brad Holbrook returned to USA Tonight after Dean signed with ABC News, and shortly thereafter Stainback returned to the co-anchor position alongside him.

USA Tonight continued to air into 1990, although by then far fewer stations were carrying the broadcast, partly as more focus was being placed on their own local news operations (by this point, the number of independent stations had decreased to some extent due to the earlier 1986 launch of the Fox network). With this in mind, Tribune Broadcasting chose to cancel the INN newscast in June of that year, while it retained some of the program's staff to cover news stories from Washington, D.C. for the Tribune stations. On March 13, 2009, Tribune Broadcasting officially closed the Washington bureau, citing economic reasons.

Stations airing INN[edit]

When INN premiered, the program aired on Tribune's three television stations at the time – WPIX, WGN-TV in Chicago and KWGN-TV in Denver. Other stations that later picked up INN were KCOP in Los Angeles; WVTV in Milwaukee; WSBK-TV in Boston; WKBD-TV in Detroit; KMSP-TV in Minneapolis; WHME-TV in South Bend, Indiana; WTTV in Indianapolis; WUTV in Buffalo, New York; WCIX in Miami, WDCA-TV in Washington, D.C., WPGH-TV in Pittsburgh and WTAF-TV in Philadelphia.[3]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Enter INN." Broadcasting, December 1, 1980, pg. 50.
  2. ^ "Still another news group." Broadcasting, May 5, 1980, pp. 37-38. [1][2]
  3. ^ Independent Network News advertisement. Broadcasting, December 1, 1980, pg. 47.