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CBS will air a documentary series from its streaming news channel CBSN

CBS will air a documentary series from its streaming news channel CBSN
CBS News correspondent Reena Ninan reporting for the upcoming series "CBSN: On Assignment" (CBS News)

CBSN, the 24-hour over-the-top streaming video service operated by CBS News, is getting some prime-time exposure on the broadcast network this summer.

Starting July 31, the CBS network will air a weekly series "CBSN: On Assignment," an hour-long program featuring long-form reports produced by the digital channel. The series — the first TV program to carry the CBSN name — will air on four consecutive Mondays at 10 p.m.

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CBSN — which is available free on smartphones, streaming devices such as Roku and Apple TV, and Internet-connected televisions — was launched in November 2014. The advertiser-supported channel provides live breaking coverage and re-airs reports from various CBS News programs. It also features original documentary programs, fronted by CBS News correspondents, with an edgier look than traditional network TV news packages.

CBSN is hoping that giving the documentary work exposure on the broadcast network will draw more viewers to the digital channel at times when it's not covering major breaking news.

"This is an opportunity to showcase the voices and original storytelling from CBSN to an entirely new audience," Nancy Lane, senior executive producer for CBS News Digital, said in a statement announcing the program.

In a note to staff, CBS News President David Rhodes said the documentaries, which first started airing on CBSN in January 2016, have helped keep audiences tuned in to the channel for longer periods.

"CBSN: On Assignment" will stream on CBSN at the same time it airs over the CBS broadcast network.

CBS has never released viewing numbers for CBSN, although it has noted spikes in audience during coverage of major news events such as the 2016 presidential debates and the recent Senate testimony of former FBI Director James B. Comey.

CBSN does not require a cable subscription. CBS News has touted it as an alternative for over-the-top TV users and cord-cutters who don't have access to CNN, Fox News Channel or MSNBC.

CNN recently announced that it is expanding its digital news site called Great Big Story into a 24-hour streaming network by summer 2018. The channel is programmed with video offerings aimed at younger viewers who are less likely to sit through the cable network's politics-heavy panel discussions.

Twitter: @SteveBattaglio

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