First there was the American spy plane U-2, shot down by the Russians in 1960. Then there was the Irish rock band U2, fronted by Bono. And starting in December, there’ll also be “The U Too,” the newest Chicago television venture by Weigel Broadcasting Co.
As tipped here Tuesday, the Chicago-based parent company of WCIU-Channel 26 announced the latest addition to a lineup of stations that includes "The U," "Me-TV," "Me-Too," and "This."‚ "The U Too" will air on digital subchannels 26.5 and 26.6, and on low-power analog Channel 48, which just changed call letters from WMEU-CA to WCUU-CA.
Neal Sabin, executive vice president of Weigel Broadcasting, said the new format will feature an array of programming, including some shows currently airing on "The U," a few airing overnights on "Me-TV," and new ones from syndicated sources and independent producers. In a statement announcing the launch, Sabin said:
"This is a natural step for us. Just the way we brought more classic television programming to Chicago when we extended the Me-TV brand with the launch of Me-Too, we now will extend The U's brand with The U Too. This will allow us to feature some of the The U's signature programs in different time periods and add new programs to the schedule. We will now be able to air programming from independent producers that fits our brand as well as provide another opportunity to reach a new audience for existing and future clients."
The additional outlet opens a new revenue stream for the company and the opportunity to sell advertising in combination with Channel 26. "We believe this will complement, not cannibalize, our audience," said Brad Lesak, general sales manager for Weigel Broadcasting's Chicago stations. "It will also allow us to sell creatively between the two 'U' franchises, just like we do with Me-TV and Me-Too."
In a minor historical footnote, the move could mark an end to more than 40 years of ethnic and foreign-language programming by Weigel Broadcasting, which launched WCIU as Chicago's first UHF station in 1964 and was a pioneer in brokering air time to independent producers. "The U Too" will take the place of Weigel's foreign-language digital stream FBT-TV.