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Tribune Entertainment

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Tribune Entertainment
FormerlyMid-America Video Tape Productions (1964-1966)
WGN Continental Productions (1966-1982)
Tribune Productions (1982-1983)
Tribune Entertainment Company (1983-1996)
Company typeDivision
FoundedChicago, United States (1964 (1964))
DefunctDecember 18, 2007 (2007-12-18)
Production output
TV shows
ParentTribune Broadcasting

Tribune Entertainment (formerly Mid-America Video Tape Productions, WGN Continental Productions, Tribune Productions and Tribune Entertainment Company) was a television production and broadcast syndication company owned and operated by Tribune Broadcasting. It was started in 1964 as a subsidiary of WGN-TV in Chicago. Many programs offered from Tribune Entertainment have been broadcast on the company's television stations.

Throughout the company's existence, Tribune Entertainment mainly produced first-run syndicated programs (including Geraldo, At the Movies and Earth: Final Conflict), along with some television special (such as the Hollywood Christmas Parade and Soul Train Music Awards).


Tribune Entertainment

Tribune Entertainment was founded in 1964 as Mid-America Video Tape Productions as a subsidiary of television station WGN-TV in Chicago, in order to syndicate National Barn Dance to several television markets.[1] In 1966, it formally became WGN Continental Productions, as a videotape subsidiary of WGN Continental Broadcasting Company.[2] In 1975, Dale M. Juhlin left WGN Continental Productions in order to start out his own production company which was based in Chicago.[3]

Over the years, the company grew that in 1980s that Tribune's first successful program that was distributed for syndication were the agricultural news program U.S. Farm Report, which debuted in 1975; and Independent Network News, a syndicated news program designed for Independent station that was produced by Tribune's New York City station WPIX and debuted in 1980.

In 1982, Tribune picked up newspaper film critics Roger Ebert and Gene Siskel under the show name of At the Movies before losing the hosts four years later to Buena Vista Television.[4] Later on that year, WGN Continental Productions had become Tribune Productions, and Sheldon Cooper, who was previously of Tribune's own television station WGN-TV had assumed president of the unit.[5] In 1983, it became Tribune Entertainment Company, and received agreements to develop two-hour movies for syndication.[6] It gradually expanded its programming to include British programs, and mini-series, as well as a television movie co-production deal.[7]

In 1984, it purchased the television syndication rights to the motion picture The Smurfs and the Magic Flute for use in the syndication market, via Tribune stations, as well as other TV stations on a cash and barter basis.[8] In 1985, another long-running program that Tribune had distributed was the syndicated musical Soul Train, just 9 years after it moved to WGN-TV, from syndication, which debuted in 1971.[9] Also that year, it picked up the rights to the British cop show Dempsey and Makepeace for American screening, produced by ITV weekend franchisee London Weekend Television.[10] In 1987, Tribune partnered with rival syndicatior Coca-Cola Telecommunications on an aborted effort of two projects, namely Gunfighter, which was set for a two-hour telefilm on the Tribune stations on a barter basis, but it never realized.[11]

In 1987, it entered into an agreement with Paramount Domestic Television to handle sales of Geraldo, with Tribune producing the series.[12] That year, Tribune Entertainment Company announced that they would move production of two in-house series, At the Movies and The Farm Report, from the WGN-TV studios in Chicago, to indie production company Polycom in order to make the move a cost-cutting move for the studio, and retains its own crew of producers and distributors in the Chicago area and many engineers at the studio had been laid off too.[13] In 1988, Bud Grant, who had just left CBS partnered with Tribune to start Grant/Tribune Productions to produce TV shows.[14] In 1989, Tribune signed comedienne Joan Rivers to host the daytime syndicated talk program, The Joan Rivers Show, five years before doing Can We Shop?.[15] In 1990, it split their association with Paramount, with Tribune taking sales of both Geraldo and The Joan Rivers Show.[16] On March 1, 1991, Tribune had its Geraldo show as the first US program in the USSR under the recent Glasnost policy.[17]

In January 1994, Tribune Entertainment started a country music initiative across broadcast television, concert touring, direct marketing, home video distribution, pay-per-view and radio syndication. Under the initiative, programming would start in the fall 1994 with a weekly syndicated country music television and companion radio program then home video releases and pay-per-view events in 1995.[18] With Nashville Country Club Inc., Tribune announced as a part of this initiative to operate "Road" performance clubs and restaurants with the first to open in 1995.[19] In July 1995, Tribune sold 22 episodes of "Road", their canceled country music show, to The Nashville Network for broadcast starting in January 1996.[20] In 1996, it entered into an agreement with King World Productions to distribute Geraldo, which would remain on the air until 1998 via a joint first-run development pact deal, and Tribune to continue handling barter advertising sales of the show.[21]

In January 2003, Tribune Entertainment was signed on as distributor of the DIC Kids Network, which came onto the air, beginning in the fall of 2003.[22]

In July 2003, the company purchased syndication rights to 34 DreamWorks Pictures feature films to use on Tribune stations starting in August 2006. The films would be also sold to other stations via barter or sale while supervising marketing for the films.[23]

On December 18, 2007, Tribune Entertainment announced it would exit the program distribution business.[24] In 2008, it sold its Tribune Studios for $125 million to Hudson Capital, LLC.[25]

In 2010, Tribune announced that it would be considering a re-entry into the syndication market with two new talk shows: one a tabloid talk show hosted by Bubba the Love Sponge, and another, "Big Willie" (since renamed The Bill Cunningham Show). Both programs filmed pilot programs and Bill Cunningham's show aired during a week long test on Tribune stations.[26]

Tribune Studios

Tribune Studios
Company typeDivision
FoundedChicago, United States (March 19, 2013 (2013-03-19))
DefunctSeptember 17, 2019; 4 years ago (2019-09-17)
FateAcquired by Nexstar
Key people
Matt Cherniss (president)[27]
Production output
TV shows

On March 19, 2013, Tribune appointed Warner Bros. executive Matt Cherniss as president/general manager of a newly formed[28][29] production division called Tribune Studios (not to be confused with the physical Sunset Bronson Studios, which formerly held the Tribune Studios name and continues to house the facilities of Tribune's KTLA). Tribune Studios will produce programs primarily for the company's 23 television stations and WGN America, some of which will receive national distribution. The initial programs produced by the company starting with the 2012–13 season will include The Bill Cunningham Show (originated through Tribune Broadcasting, now produced by ITV Studios America), The Arsenio Hall Show and The Test (the latter two programs were co-productions with CBS).[27]

Tribune Studios's first original drama, since its formation,[28][29] for its sister company WGN America was Manhattan which aired from 2014 to 2015 for 2 seasons.[30][31]


This is a listing of programs which were either produced or distributed by Tribune Entertainment & then later on, Tribune Studios:

Tribune Entertainment

Children’s programing


  • South Park (1997–present) ad sales only from 2005 to 2008 and co-distributed with Debmar-Mercury until 2008, produced by Celluloid Studios (1997); Braniff Productions (1997–2006); Parker-Stone Productions (2006–2007); South Park Studios (2007–present) and Comedy Partners

Daytime shows

First-run syndicated shows

Teen Sitcoms

Late night talk/variety shows

Made-for-TV movies/Mini-series

News/information series


Tribune Studios

Daytime shows

  • The Bill Cunningham Show (2011–2016), produced with ITV Studios America
  • The Robert Irvine Show (2016–present), produced with Robert Irvine Productions and Irwin Entertainment

Late night talk/variety shows



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  2. ^ "WGN Continental adds video-tape subsidiary" (PDF). Broadcasting. 1966-05-23. Retrieved 2021-11-12.
  3. ^ "Fates & Fortunes" (PDF). Broadcasting. 1975-08-04. Retrieved 2021-11-13.
  4. ^ a b Daley, Steve (April 16, 1986). "Wbbm To Air New Show By Siskel, Ebert". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved March 9, 2016.
  5. ^ "In Brief" (PDF). Broadcasting. 1982-05-10. Retrieved 2021-11-10.
  6. ^ "Tribune topics" (PDF). Broadcasting. 1983-05-16. Retrieved 2021-11-10.
  7. ^ "Tribune Entertainment: exploring programming horizons" (PDF). Broadcasting. 1983-10-10. Retrieved 2021-11-11.
  8. ^ "In the marketplace" (PDF). Broadcasting. 1984-07-09. Retrieved 2021-11-10.
  9. ^ "Love, Peace & Soul: Celebrating 44 Years of Soul Train". SoulTrain.com. August 15, 2014. Retrieved November 5, 2016.
  10. ^ "Leading Tribune's first-run for the money" (PDF). Broadcasting. 1984-05-14. Retrieved 2021-11-12.
  11. ^ "Tribune & DIC Link With Coca-Cola Unit". Variety. 1987-01-28. pp. 44, 54.
  12. ^ "In Brief" (PDF). Broadcasting. 1987-04-13. Retrieved 2021-11-11.
  13. ^ "Tribune Shifting Production Center; Lays Off Engineers". Variety. 1987-10-28. pp. 41, 73.
  14. ^ "This Bud's for Tribune" (PDF). Broadcasting. 1988-02-22. Retrieved 2021-09-09.
  15. ^ "Joan Rivers paved the way for ranchy comedians". Boston Herald.com. September 5, 2014. Retrieved November 5, 2016.
  16. ^ "Tribune, Paramount part company" (PDF). Broadcasting. 1990-10-01. Retrieved 2021-11-11.
  17. ^ Warren, James (January 27, 1991). "'Geraldo' Goes To Moscow". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved March 9, 2016.
  18. ^ "Going country: Tribune Entertainment Co. announced plans..." Chicago Tribune. January 19, 1994. Retrieved March 9, 2016.
  19. ^ "Entertainment road: Tribune Entertainment Co. and..." Chicago Tribune. May 12, 1994. Retrieved March 9, 2016.
  20. ^ a b "To Nashville Network". Chicago Tribune. July 11, 1995. Retrieved March 10, 2016.
  21. ^ McClellan, Steve (1996-01-29). "King World gets Tribune's 'Geraldo'" (PDF). Broadcasting. Retrieved 2021-11-13.
  22. ^ Oei, Lily (2003-01-29). "DIC offers kidvid blocks". Variety. Retrieved 2021-11-10.
  23. ^ "Entertainment unit acquires film rights". Chicago Tribune. July 24, 2003. Retrieved March 10, 2016.
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  27. ^ a b Morabito, Andrea (March 19, 2013). "Tribune Re-Launching Studio With Matt Cherniss at Helm". Broadcasting & Cable. NewBay Media, LLC. Retrieved March 9, 2016. the newly formed Tribune Studios
  28. ^ a b "Tribune Media | Tribune Studios". www.tribunemedia.com. Launched in 2013
  29. ^ a b "Tribune Media | Tribune Names Cherniss President/GM of WGN America And Tribune Studios". www.tribunemedia.com. the newly formed Tribune Studios
  30. ^ a b Littleton, Cynthia (14 October 2014). "WGN America Renews 'Manhattan' for Season 2". Variety. Retrieved October 15, 2014.
  31. ^ Graser, Marc (November 29, 2013). "How Matt Cherniss is Building Provocative New Worlds for WGN America". Variety. Retrieved March 10, 2016. "Salem" is a co-production with 20th Century Fox TV's cable arm Fox 21, while "Manhattan" will be produced through Tribune Studios, ...
  32. ^ Ziemba, Stanley (January 24, 1996). "Tribune, King World Enter Tv Deal". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved March 9, 2016.
  33. ^ "Talking shopping: Tribune Entertainment, Barry Diller's..." Chicago Tribune. August 25, 1993. Retrieved March 9, 2016.
  34. ^ a b c Dillon, Mark (8 July 2002). "Tribune and Fireworks embark on Adventure Inc". Playback. Retrieved 2007-12-09.
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  37. ^ Kogan, Rick (January 24, 1992). "Smoothed Edges". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved March 9, 2016.
  38. ^ Kogan, Rick (April 8, 1992). "Cliches Mar 'The Hank Gathers Story'". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved March 9, 2016.
  39. ^ Szul, Barbara (April 20, 1987). "Geraldo Rivera investigates the problems of growing up in..." Chicago Tribune. Retrieved March 9, 2016.
  40. ^ Andreeva, Nellie (November 12, 2014). "Thomas M. Wright To Co-Star In 'Outsiders' On WGN America". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved 21 November 2015.
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