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WB and UPN Networks to Merge into the CW Network

Warner Bros. Entertainment and CBS Corporation announced today that they would end their two television networks, WB and UPN, in favor of a brand new combined network to be called the CW Television Network.

Daniel M. Kimmel, Boston area TV and film critic, said that the move makes sense. "There's probably not room for both of them," he noted when asked by this reporter. "Together they will be a lot stronger than they were separately, as they were going for the same audience."

Kimmel, the author of the award-winning book "The Fourth Network: How FOX Broke the Rules and Reinvented Television" (Ivan R. Dee, 2004), is considered by many to be the leading expert on the history of recent network television.

Kimmel noted that the news was so sudden, it's hard to predict how it will affect the Boston television scene. He confirmed that in the Boston area, the new network would be carried by WLVI, channel 56, leaving WSBK, channel 38, in a quandary. "I don't think channel 38 knows what they'll do yet," he said. He speculated that they may go with movies or repeats of CBS shows, since CBS owns the station.


They know that in Chicago (home of Tribune) WGN-9 (now hosting wb) will stay and become the "CW" network, and upn programming (currently on channel 50 from gary indiana) will hop on to it.

Quasi-related trivia: in the movie "The Weatherman" starring Nicolas Cage, his TV station "WCH-6" was heavily based on WGN-9...in fact, the TV scenes were filmed on an old WGN studio and Tom Skilling (noon weather reporter) served as technical consultant. Skilling noted that besides being a very friendly person Cage picked up on Green Screen Technique pleasantly quickly. :)
The strange thing is I don't see the two stations as being much alike with the exception of Veronia Mars which should have been a WB show to begin with. "...Top Model" should be on Bravo except that's an NBC owned station. It fits perfectly with "queer eye", "project runway", and "project greenlight".

Now since I don't watch any of those I admit I'm a bit biased.

I wonder if WB will put all the UPN comedies on one night (Saturday?)
I feel obligated to make some sort of Buffy/Angel comment, but can't think of anything witty.
Ooo, I hope 38 turns into what it was when I was growing up -- bring back The Movie Loft and Creature Double Feature!

(No, wait -- Creature Double Feature was on 56. But the idea is still sound.)

Honestly, I wonder what a non-affiliated station goes for these days -- wouldn't it be neat to get a bunch of folks together and run our own geek indie station? Like Weird Al in "UPN."


Weird Al

The movie was "UHF."


The LEADING Expert?

Even my mother wouldn't call me that. :)

If memory serves, Warner Brothers and Paramount had been in talks to do a "fifth network" back when the PTEN Consortium was coming to an end, but could never come to an agreement with one another, so ended up going independently to create WB and UPN (with WB's PTEN partner, Chris-Craft, joining up with UPN). So, really, we're just going to back what they originally had wanted to do a decade ago.

In the meantime, I don't think there's a single current show I'd be watching on CW. Last time I watched WB was the Angel series finale, and for UPN it was the Enterprise finale.


Heck, the "fifth network" talk started long before that--back when Paramount was thinking of becoming the "fourth network." Star Trek: The Next Generation, in the early concept stages, was originally considered a potential flagship series. Then when it became obvious FOX would beat everyone to the punch, Paramount backed off and started talking about STTNG launching on FOX. Ultimately, they went with syndication. But still.

It seems like EVERY studio wants a network of their own, so they can produce, buy and sell their own programming. It doesn't normally work out that way, but that's the bean-counter rationale.

-Jayme Lynn Blaschke

December 2016

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