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Knoxville’s WBIR and WTNZ Begin First Phase of Production Partnership

The first stage of the recently announced partnership between Knoxville NBC-affiliate WBIR and Fox-affiliate WTNZ begins this week.

Earlier this month, Raycom Media-owned WTNZ announced that WBIR, which is owned by Gannett, would begin producing its newscasts as part of the station’s strategy to cost-effectively expand its local news programming and eventually begin broadcasting in HD.

WTNZ is debuting its new, WBIR-produced 10 p.m. newscast today anchored by Robin Wilhoit and John Becker (right), who will continue helming WBIR’s 11 p.m. newscast as well.

WTNZ’s 10 p.m. newscast will expand to an hour in “late May or early June,” WBIR news director Bill Shory told the Knoxville News Sentinel. At that point, Beth Haynes, who currently hosts WBIR’s 4 p.m. news and lifestyle show, will rotate in with Wilhoit and Becker at 10 p.m.

The other elements of the partnership–HD broadcasting and a new, two-hour morning newscast–are set to launch by the end of June.

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