Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Majors News: UPN and The WB Gone This Fall, Replaced By New Network The CW


The WB and UPN networks will both cease operations starting in September 2006. CBS Corporation, which owns UPN, and Warner Bros., which obviously owns The WB, will merge into one and create a new network called The CW (stands for CBS Corp/Warner Bros.). I'm sure everyone has heard something about this by now. If not, you certainly will get the picture by the end of this story. I will cover everything here so no one will be confused.

The new CW network will either be on what is now known as your local WB or your local UPN.
  • If you live in the following markets, then you will get The CW on your WB affiliate: New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Boston, Dallas, Washington, D.C., Houston, Miami, Denver, St. Louis, Portland, Indianapolis, San Diego, Hartford, New Orleans, and Albany. Those are all Tribune owned WB stations. For example New York's WPIX and L.A.'s KTLA will have The CW programming.
  • If you live in the following markets, then you will get The CW on your UPN affiliate: Philadelphia, San Francisco, Atlanta, Detroit, Tampa, Seattle, Sacramento, Pittsburgh, West Palm Beach, Norfolk, Oklahoma City and Providence. Those are all UPN stations owned by CBS Corp. Combining the Tribune and CBS Corp. stations, that covers more than 48% of the country. The CW is expected to reach 95% of the country.
Note: Philadelphia, Seattle and Atlanta--both have a WB station that is owned by Tribune and a UPN station owned by CBS Corp., but for all three, The CW will be on their UPN stations, so their WB stations will turn independent, meaning they can program whatever they want in primetime, such as movies, classic sitcoms and dramas, syndicated programming and more. Personally, I can't wait to see what WWOR (UPN9) in New York will do, as they will become independent because WPIX (WB11) will be turning into The CW. Hopefully WWOR brings back classic sitcoms or dramas in primetime. Maybe that will be the case, please read further down to see what I mean.

There is also another little problem in the major markets. Fox Corp. owns UPN stations in markets like New York (oh no that is my WWOR!), Los Angeles, and Chicago. Those stations are not turning into The CW, but will become independent. But Fox is eyeing those stations for something more. They could start up another programming service, and Tribune has expressed interest for their three independents (Philly, Seattle, Atlanta) in such a network. If that happens, looks like I won't get my classic sitcoms and dramas after all?

As for markets other than Tribune and CBS markets, the CW’s affiliations must still play out.
Sinclair Broadcasting and other mid-level station groups that lose their WB affiliations will be in need of a large amount of programming, Sinclair has 18 WB stations and owns or operates a half dozen UPN outlets. Sinclair owns both the WB and UPN stations in four markets: Birmingham, Milwaukee, Nashville, and Raleigh. So far, it’s known that in four other Sinclair markets, the CW affiliation will go to Tribune or CBS (Tampa, Pittsburgh, Norfolk, and Oklahoma City), leaving Sinclair with at least eight stations that will have no affiliation. Still, Sinclair will likely get the CW affiliation in the majority of its markets.
The CW will inherit the WB's 100+ station group, the net's band of small-market cable-only outlets.

So what will be The CW programming hours? Well, they will use The WB's exact hours. Meaning, Sundays 5-7pm and 7-10pm; Weekdays 3-5pm and 8-10pm; and Saturdays 7am-12 noon. Sundays 5-7pm is likely going to be repeats like how The WB does right now, with new programming Sundays 7-10pm and Weekdays 8-10pm. It is likely the Daytime WB block (currently consists of ER, 8 Simple Rules) will be on The CW line-up from 3-5pm on Weekdays and Kids' WB, which will be renamed of course, will still be on the air on The CW airing Saturdays 7am-12 noon.

What will happen to all of UPN's and The WB's current shows? Well, simple, most will be gone, some will be on this new channel. Some of the shows that are rumored to be on The CW include: America's Next Top Model (UPN), Beauty and the Geek (WB), Smallville (WB), Gilmore Girls (WB), Supernatura (WB), Veronica Mars (UPN), Everybody Hates Chris (UPN), Grifriends (UPN), Reba (WB) and WWE Smackdown (UPN). Imagine if they had Gilmore Girls and Veronica Mars on one night! Maybe then VM can get a decent audience with a similar type of lead-in. If they use all those shows and add some news ones, they will have some of the highest rated shows from The WB and UPN. We should have a grasp of their full schedule by May, when the upfronts are held. I expect a few new shows, but mainly the best of the best from The WB and UPN will be on The CW. They will have what no other network has ever had, starting with established shows.

Now to those stations that will turn independent due to all this.
Syndicator Carsey-Werner has struck a deal to distribute the Stephen J. Cannell library both inside and outside the U.S.
The deal covers rights on various platforms, including cable, video-on-demand and the Internet, and will add thousands of hours to the distributor's library, including Baretta, The Rockford Files, A-Team, Hunter, 21 Jump Street, Wiseguy, Silk Stalkings and Michael Chiklis' first shield outing as The Commish.

Will the company start packaging the dramas in a block for some of the new independents created by the folding of UPN and The WB? Let's hope and pray we see these classic dramas in the primetime line-up for these stations that will turn independent. I hope we see some sitcoms on there, too. How about some shows that have not been on the air much? Silver Spoons, Small Wonder, One Day at a Time, Facts of Life, Hogan Family, Mr. Belvedere, and Diff'rent Strokes ring a bell?

I think this CW situation is good news. Both UPN and The WB were really terrible, but had some shows worth saving, and I guess now those will be on one network. The thing I'm ecstatic the most about are the stations that will turn independent. It will be very interesting what they program in primetime. I just hope the Fox-owned UPN stations don't get screwed by this and Fox takes over them. Let them remain free! The CW premieres this September (and the new independents!)


Sitcoms Airing Tonight

Sunday, July 22

The Simpsons - "3 Scenes Plus a Tag from a Marriage" (Fox, 8:00PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
Homer and Marge recount the story of their transition from loving their life without kids to being miserable parents.

Bob's Burgers - "Mo Mommy Mo Problems" (Fox, 8:30PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
The Belchers attend open houses for the free food; Linda meets a charming real estate agent and agrees to a private showing; the kids stumble upon an unexpected surprise; the family ends up getting involved with a real estate scheme.

Family Guy - "V is for Mystery" (Fox, 9:00PM ET/PT) (Repeat)
Stewie and Brian are detectives who embark on solving a string of mysterious murders set in Victorian-era London.

Ghosted - "Hello Boys" (Fox, 9:30PM ET/PT)
While trying to prove their worth to Capt. LaFrey, Leroy and Max finally get a lead on the whereabouts of Agent Checker; Leroy finds himself in the odd position of being the believer when Max loses faith that they have what it takes.

Complete TV Listings


Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of July 16)

Sunday, July 22

  • Sherri Shepherd (Trial & Error: Lady, Killer/Sherri/Less Than Perfect) - Catch Sherri on Watch What Happens: Live at 11pm on Bravo.


New on DVD/Blu-ray (June/July)

New Girl - The Complete Seventh Season Alice - The Complete Seventh Season Green Acres - The Final (Sixth) Season The Last Man on Earth - The Complete Fourth Season The Good Place - The Complete Second Season

06/05 - Living Single - The Complete Fifth Season
06/05 - New Girl - The Complete Sixth Season
06/05 - South Park - The Complete Twenty-First Season (Blu-ray)
06/12 - Fresh Off the Boat - The Complete Fourth Season
06/12 - Life in Pieces - The Complete Third Season
06/12 - The Office - The Complete Series
06/12 - Speechless - The Complete First Season
06/12 - Speechless - The Complete Second Season
06/12 - Step by Step - The Complete First Season
06/12 - Will & Grace (The Revival) - Season One (Blu-ray)
06/19 - Perfect Strangers - The Complete Fourth Season
06/26 - Last Man Standing - The Complete Fifth Season
06/26 - Last Man Standing - The Complete Sixth Season
06/26 - The Mick - The Complete First Season
06/26 - The Mick - The Complete Second Season
07/03 - New Girl - The Final (Seventh) Season
07/10 - Alice - The Complete Seventh Season (WBShop.com)
07/10 - The Bill Engvall Show - The Complete First Season (WBShop.com)
07/10 - Green Acres - The Final (Sixth) Season
07/10 - The Last Man on Earth - The Complete Fourth Season
07/17 - Cooper Barrett's Guide to Surviving Life - The Complete Series
07/17 - The Good Place - The Complete Second Season
07/17 - Son of Zorn - The Complete Series
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