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Scripps Stations to Launch Grit and Escape Networks

E.W. Scripps Co. said it will distribute Katz Broadcasting’s digital multicast networks—Grit, Escape and LAFF—in 18 markets.

Scripps, which recently acquired Journal Communications and its stations, already carried LAFF, a two-month old network devoted to comedy. It is distributing Grit, aimed at male viewers, and Escape, aimed at women, for the first time.

“Grit, Escape and LAFF are unique and attractive demo-specific networks that will add great value to our stations in these markets, as we’ve seen with our current LAFF distribution,” Brian Lawlor, senior VP for the Scripps broadcast division. “With the acquisition of the Journal stations now complete, we wanted to expand that distribution even further.”

Scripps will be launching Escape on WMYD-TV, Detroit; WRTV, Indianapolis; KMCI-TV, Kansas City; WTMJ-TV, Milwaukee; WCPO-TV, Cincinnati; WKBW-TV, Buffalo; WFTX-TV, Ft. Myers; WACY-TV, Green Bay; KMTV, Omaha; KIVI-TV, Boise, and KSAW-TV, Twin Falls. With the Scripps stations, Escape will be available in 70 million homes representing 60% of the country.

Grit is being added by Scripps stations WFTS-TV, Tampa; KSHB-TV, Kansas City; KTNV-TV, Las Vegas and WACY-TV, Green Bay, bringing its distribution up to 93 million homes and 80% of the U.S.

The stations adding LAFF are WTVF-TV, Nashville; WTMJ-TV, Milwaukee; KTNV-TV, Las Vegas and WACY-TV, Green Bay. That puts LAFF in 64 million households and 55% of the country.

“Scripps is a great distribution partner that understands very well that demo-targeted networks like LAFF, Grit and Escape will help their stations grow and prosper,” said Jeffrey Wolf, chief distribution officer for Katz Broadcasting. “We are thrilled to expand our relationship with them.”

Katz Broadcasting was set up in 2014 by former Turner Broadcasting executive Jonathan Katz. Katz is also a founder and COO of Bounce TV, the first over-the-air network aimed at African Americans.

Jon has been business editor of Broadcasting+Cable since 2010. He focuses on revenue-generating activities, including advertising and distribution, as well as executive intrigue and merger and acquisition activity. Just about any story is fair game, if a dollar sign can make its way into the article. Before B+C, Jon covered the industry for TVWeek, Cable World, Electronic Media, Advertising Age and The New York Post. A native New Yorker, Jon is hiding in plain sight in the suburbs of Chicago.