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NBCU Launching NBC O&O in Boston Next Year

NBCUniversal is launching an NBC-owned station in Boston on Jan. 1, 2017, according to a memo obtained by B&C.

This means, as previous reports indicated, Boston’s current NBC affiliate Sunbeam Television’s WHDH will lose the affiliation at the end of the current contract, Dec. 31, 2016.

More than two years ago, NBCU added 24-hour New England regional cable news network NECN. Telemundo Boston (WNEU) has access to the facility, which features a new studio, modern newsroom and upgraded tools and technology. The network has a news app and an investigative and consumer unit as well.

“With these investments in NECN and Telemundo Boston, we have built a very strong news organization in the Boston market — both from a personnel and facilities perspective — which puts us in a great position to launch an NBC-owned station locally,” said Valari Staab, president, NBCUniversal Owned Television Stations.

Staab announced that Mike St. Peter, currently the general manager of NECN and Telemundo Boston, will assume leadership of the new NBC station and serve as president of all three.

“With the work we’ve done over the last two years plus the future investments we have planned, we will soon have the best television newsroom in the region,” Staab said, pointing to NBC Boston and Telemundo Boston as two major broadcast nets in English and Spanish and 24/7 cable news network NECN covering New England.

NBC Boston will be broadcast over the air, not cable only like NECN. One possibility for the new station is to use WNEU’s signal. NBCU is exploring its options. “Additionally, we are committed to expanding our over-the-air coverage of the market and are currently looking at a variety of options to accomplish that,” Staab said.

The new station has already acquired Harry, Harry Connick, Jr.’s new daytime entertainment show, in addition to Access Hollywood Live for weekday afternoons and Access Hollywood for evenings before NBC’s primetime programming.

NECN also announced Thursday that it has made three additions to its news and weather teams: meteorologist Pete Bouchard and journalists Melody Mendez and Joy Lim Nakrin.

Bouchard, previously WHDH’s chief meteorologist for over 13 years, had recently resigned and the speculation was that he would move to NBC. He has been a local TV meteorologist in the New England area for more than 20 years. Bouchard will make his debut with the network’s “Early Warning Weather” team Jan. 11.

“New Englanders are tough and they know their weather,” said Kenny Plotnik, VP of news, NECN. “Blizzards, tornadoes and nor’easters do not faze them, but they do depend on their local meteorologist to make sure they’re ready for whatever Mother Nature throws at them. Pete Bouchard has been doing just that for more than two decades and we’re proud to welcome him to our already strong NECN weather team.”

Mendez, previously the morning anchor of WFLD Chicago’s morning newscast, will start as a weekday morning anchor at the end of March. Nakrin will begin serving as afternoon anchor and evening reporter in early May. She spent the last two years as an anchor and reporter at WFXT, Cox’s Fox affiliate in Boston.

“Growing up in Southern New Hampshire and attending college in Boston, (Melody) understands and appreciates the communities we all call home and I know she will work hard to build a strong connection with our local viewers,” Plotnik said. “(Joy is) well-liked and respected by Boston-area viewers and I know they will love seeing her on our air later this spring.”