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, October 20

The Simpsons - "Treehouse of Horror XXX" (Fox, 8:00PM ET/PT)
Milhouse is trapped in another dimension; dead Homer's spirit tries some new bodies on for size; Selma finds love in an unlikely place.

Bless the Harts - "Cremains of the Day" (Fox, 8:30PM ET/PT)
Violet, David and Leonard take Wayne on a ghost hunt to cure his fear of ghosts; Jenny and Betty honor Jenny's late father on his favorite holiday.

Bob's Burgers - "Big Trouble in Little Tina" (Fox, 9:00PM ET/PT)
Things get spooky when Tina dissects a pig in science class; Bob and Linda battle a giant ball of ear wax.

Family Guy - "Disney's The Reboot" (Fox, 9:30PM ET/PT)
After the network decides it is time to reboot the series, three versions of the reboot are shown to a focus group, which produces some surprising feedback.

Complete TV Listings


Sitcom Stars on Talk Shows (Week of October 14)

Sunday, October 20

  • Alec Baldwin (30 Rock) - Catch Alec on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon at 12:05am on NBC.


New on DVD/Blu-ray (August/September/October)

Brooklyn Nine-Nine - Season Six Young Sheldon - The Complete Second Season My Three Sons - The Fourth Season - Volume One Modern Family - The Complete Tenth Season Life with Lucy - The Complete Series

08/06 - Caroline in the City - The Third Season
08/06 - Caroline in the City - The Fourth Season
08/13 - I Love Lucy - Colorized Collection
08/13 - Leave it to Beaver - Seasons One and Two
08/20 - Brooklyn Nine-Nine - Season Six
08/27 - Baskets - The Complete Season Four
08/27 - It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia - The Complete Thirteenth Season
09/03 - Bob's Burgers - The Complete 9th Season
09/03 - Fresh Off the Boat - The Complete Fifth Season
09/03 - The Goldbergs - The Complete Sixth Season
09/03 - Single Parents - The Complete Season One
09/03 - Young Sheldon - The Complete Second Season
09/04 - What We Do in the Shadows - The Complete First Season
09/10 - American Dad! - Volume 14
09/10 - The Jetsons - The Complete Original Series (Blu-ray) (WBShop.com)
09/11 - My Three Sons - The Fourth Season - Volume One
09/11 - My Three Sons - The Fourth Season - Volume Two
09/17 - Friends - The Complete Series (25th Anniversary)
09/17 - Modern Family - The Complete Tenth Season
09/19 - Angel from Hell - The DVD Edition
10/08 - Leave it to Beaver - The Complete Series
10/08 - Life with Lucy - The Complete Series
10/16 - Our Miss Brooks - Season 1 - Volume 1
10/16 - Our Miss Brooks - Season 1 - Volume 2
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