The network home of the Grand Ole Opry launched in 2020.

Gray Media owners of WNDU Channel 16 have notified Sister Lakes Cable that Circle will be shutting down on December 31, 2023, and there is currently no replacement. 

Gray Television has announced that the Circle Network, which has aired Saturday night Grand Ole Opry live broadcasts since the channel launched in 2020, will cease operations by the end of the year.

“In September 2023, we determined to pivot from television network ownership in favor of a distribution approach,” a report from Gray Television read (as quoted by Country Aircheck). “Therefore, we and our joint venture partner agreed to wind down the Circle joint venture, with operations expected to cease December 31, 2023.”

The decision affects the television channel and not the production of at least some of the network’s original series. No word on how or if the Circle Now app and other streaming options will be impacted.

“The Circle brand isn’t going away,” a source told Country Aircheck. “The linear TV network will wind down at the end of the year along with the joint venture. Programming like Opry Live and Coffee, Country & Cody will continue to be produced and made available digitally on FAST, streaming and other digital distribution platforms. We also expect Opry Live to air on network television, just not on a dedicated Circle network. Opry Live will also air on Sky Arts in the UK.”

The country lifestyle brand has aired not just Opry broadcasts but classic films and television as well as Dinner Drive With Kyle Petty, Phil Vassar’s Songs From the Cellar, Upstream with Elizabeth Cook, Talking in Circles With Clint Black and other original, celebrity-hosted programming.

Circle Media LLC is a joint venture between Ryman Hospitality Properties, which owns the Grand Ole Opry, and Gray Television. Circle Network is available through nearly 100 affiliate stations across the US. Ryman Hospitality Properties previously owned TNN and CMT before selling both in 1997 to CBS Cable.

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