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Nexstar's Fort Wayne Fox Going Independent

A month after Fox gave the Fort Wayne affiliation to Granite's WISE, current Fox affiliate WFFT will become a news-rich independent starting August 1.

"WFFT Local will offer "more local news content, new and exciting feature entertainment, hit prime-time programming and blockbuster movies," Nexstar said in a statement.

WFFT Local will begin broadcasting in full HD October 1, which Nexstar says will make it the first in Fort Wayne to do so.

Fox and Nexstar are engaged in a bloody battle over affiliation agreements, with Fox finding new affiliate partners in multiple markets, including Springfield (MO) and Evansville, leaving Nexstar to redefine the station without a Fox affiliation.

Nexstar has not announced what will become of its remaining batch of Fox affiliates. President/CEO Perry Sook is out of the office and could not be reached for comment.

"Launching WFFT Local reflects our deep commitment to the community and focus on addressing the interests of our local viewing audiences," said Bill Ritchart, vice president and general manager at WFFT. "WFFT Local is building upon its highly successful and award-winning news product and immediately increasing the amount of local news content and staff."

WFFT will expand its 10 p.m. news to an hour Monday-Friday starting August 1. On October 1, the station expands the 10 p.m. news on weekends.

The station will air Extra! at 8 p.m. Monday through Friday, followed by The Insider. At 9 p.m. is Law & Order SVU. Saturdays at 8 p.m., WFFT Local will feature its "Saturday Crimetime" line-up, with dramas Cold Squad and DaVinci's Inquest. Sunday night is family movie night, then a weekly sports wrap-up show, The Locker Room, at 11. 

Starting September 19, WFFT's primetime will feature The Big Bang Theory weekdays from 9-10. 

WFFT was the No. 4 revenue station in DMA No. 107 last year, according to BIA/Kelsey. 

"Our initiatives extend to all our advertisers as we are providing more local marketing solutions than ever before," said Ritchhart.