Tuesday, January 24, 2006

UPN & The WB to merge into ONE Netlet

This netlet will be called The CW (Combnation of CBS and WB) and will reduce the prime time ratings race to five networks (six if you still cound i aka PAX).

It should be noted that UPN was wholly owned by Viacom for a few years and starting with this year it no longer has ties to Viacom when they were spun off into the CBS fold, so that is way you will have a C instead of a U, P or N.

The following is a story from Zap2it.com

The WB and UPN will cease to exist as separate networks in the fall, with their parent companies joining forces to create a new broadcast network that will alter the TV landscape.
CBS Corp., which owns UPN, and WB parent Warner Bros. Entertainment made the unexpected and rather stunning announcement Tuesday morning (Jan. 23). The new network will be called The CW and will reach about 95 percent of the country.

"This new network will serve the public with high-quality programming and maintain our ongoing commitment to our diverse audience," CBS President and CEO Les Moonves says in a statement. "It will clearly be greater than the sum of its parts, delivering excellent demographics to advertisers, and building a strong new affiliate body."

Adds Warner Bros. Entertainment Chairman/CEO Barry Meyer: "Every key constituency of the network will now greatly benefit from this combination by being part of a highly rated, competitive, fifth broadcast network that is financially sound."

UPN and The WB have been locked in a battle for young viewers virtually since they came into being in 1995. And while each net has a handful of shows with loyal followings -- "Gilmore Girls" and "Smallville" on The WB, "America's Next Top Model" and "Everybody Hates Chris" on UPN -- neither one has gained a definitive upper hand in recent years. This season, UPN is drawing about 3.4 million viewers per night and The WB 3.3 million.

Dawn Ostroff, currently president of UPN, will become president of entertainment at The CW. The WB's COO, John Maatta, will take the same job at the new network, which will have the same six-night prime-time schedule The WB currently employs.

Way up in the air at this point is just what the new network will air when it comes online next fall. The press release announcing The CW mentions the likes of "Chris," "Gilmore Girls," "Veronica Mars," "Girlfriends," "Top Model" and "Smallville" as possibilities for the network's lineup, along with pro-wrestling franchise "Friday Night Smackdown!," but just where or when they might air is an open question.

Tribune Co., which has been The WB's lead affiliate partner, will partner with the new network in 16 major markets, and CBS-owned UPN affiliates in 12 other cities will also join The CW. (Tribune is also the parent of Zap2it.com.) Those stations will cover close to half of the country, and the remaining affiliates will come from current UPN and WB stations.
Tribune-owned WB affiliates in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Boston, Dallas, Washington, Houston, Miami, Denver, St. Louis, Portland, Ore., Indianapolis, San Diego, Hartford, Conn., New Orleans and Albany, N.Y., will become part of The CW.

The CBS-owned UPN stations joining the new network are in Philadelphia, Atlanta, San Francisco, Seattle, Detroit, Pittsburgh, Sacramento, Calif., Tampa/St. Petersburg, Fla., Oklahoma City, West Palm Beach, Fla., Providence, R.I., and Norfolk, Va.

Some Notes from Don:

Expect "Americas Next Top Model," and "Everybody Hates Chris" on the UPN side to make it into to this new network. I also think that Smallville and Gilmore Girls on The WB side have a chance as well. If WWE Smackdown gets canned keep in mind that it has been speculated that CBS and Viacom wanted to dump WWE Smackdown in the first place. If that happens expect USA Network to pick up Smackdown. Last fall USA Network made a new committement to WWE Raw after several years of being on TNN/Spike TV.

Their will be lots of deadweight that will not make cut. I will be taking about this more when more information becomes avaliable.


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