Monday, June 2, 2008

Goodbye to The WB & UPN, January 24, 2006

For those of us who liked to take a walk on the "not-so-generic" side of television watching, today was a sad day as we learned of the demise of two of America's youngest "over the air" broadcast tv networks....UPN and The WB. At a joint press conference, executives from both networks announced that in September of 2006 both networks will cease operations. But never fear, like a phoenix that rises from the ashes...so shall The "Charmed" Ones. Officials from CBS and Warner Brothers (respective parent companies of UPN & The WB) also announced that a new 5th network will take their place. The new network will be called "The CW Television Network". Below are excerpts from a official CBS press release that pertains to actual on air programming.

CBS Corporation and Warner Bros. Entertainment today announced their intent to form a new 5th network, The CW, to be launched in the fall of 2006. The new broadcasting network will be a joint venture between Warner Bros. Entertainment and CBS Corporation, with each company owning 50%. In an important strategic move that secures major market distribution for The CW, it was announced that Tribune Broadcasting and the CBS Corporation's UPN affiliates have agreed separately to sign 10-year affiliation agreements with the new network.

The announcement for the new network was made today in New York by Leslie Moonves, President and Chief Executive Officer of CBS Corporation and Barry Meyer, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Warner Bros. Entertainment. The Tribune Broadcasting affiliation agreements were announced by Dennis Fitzsimons, Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer of Tribune Company.

At the same time, it was announced that CBS Corporation and Warner Bros. Entertainment will cease operations of their respective networks -- UPN and The WB. The WB and UPN will continue to broadcast their respective network schedules independently until the fall.

The CW will incorporate The WB's current scheduling model, which consists of a 6 night-13 hour primetime lineup including Monday through Friday nights from 8-10 (EST/PST); Sundays from 7-10 (EST/PST); Sunday from 5-7 (EST/PST) outside of primetime as well as a Monday thru Friday afternoon block from 3-5 (EST/PST) and a 5-hour Saturday morning animation block. Together, the network will program 30 hours a week over seven days for its affiliated stations.

As the top creative executive, Ostroff will have available a line-up of some of the most popular programming that appeals to young adults in the media business. These programming assets range from hit reality series such as "America's Next Top Model" and The WB's "Beauty and the Geek," to hit dramas like The WB's "Smallville," "Gilmore Girls," "Supernatural," and UPN's "Veronica Mars" as well as UPN's hit comedies "Everybody Hates Chris" and "Girlfriends" and The WB's hit comedy "Reba." In addition the WWE's "Smackdown," which has been a mainstay at UPN, is expected to play a role in the schedule.

In addition, The CW will also broadcast the schedule of children's programming now known as Kids' WB!, a 5-hour original programming block on Saturday mornings from 7:00 am-Noon, considered primetime for kids. Kids' WB! has been the broadcast network ratings champion since Fall 2000, capturing 16 consecutive sweep victories as the Number One Saturday morning kids' broadcaster.

The remainder of the press release went on to talk about the concerns of the business side of the deal and the stuff that most viewers generally never hear about such as afilliate numbers, market share and coverage. However the bottom line is that television viewers who enjoy UPN and WB programming have gotten a huge gift with the creation of CW. Rumors have been running rampant for the past couple of years about the imminent demise of the two networks because of poor financial and ratings bottom lines. The combination of these tw0 networks into one should make the single entity much stronger both financially and from a programming standpoint. And if the words of CBS chairman Les Moonves hold true, all the hallmark shows from both networks will come together to form the foundation of the new CW network. All you fans of the Gilmore Girls, Smallville, Veronica Mars, and WWE Smackdown.....Get ready for an interesting if not exciting option where televsion watching is concerned and just in time for the new fall season.

(originally posted 1-24-08 on Yahoo 360)
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