The big news this week in the world of entertainment was no, not the Disney-PIXAR deal, but the shock announcement that UPN and the WB would be merging.
The new network is going to be called The CW and is a joint venture of CBS and Time Warner. It's going to be a youth oriented network that will combine all the top shows from the decade-old and youth-oriented WB network, and from UPN which carved out a niche as a home for urban-oriented and black-oriented programming. But by the end UPN had a lot of shows that were similar to the stuff airing on the WB. This announcement means that UPN's America's Next Top Model and Everybody Hates Chris will air on the same channel as Smallville and Gilmore Girls. It also means many more TV shows in production are going to be cancelled, as the worst shows on both the WB and UPN are now certain to get the axe. It leaves a lot of affiliates high and dry; the Tribune stations across the USA will be showing the new CW network, but where does that leave other WB and UPN stations that had a network affiliation? A lot of UPN stations in major cities like New York and Los Angeles lost their network affiliations with this news. In fact a lot of them have now dumped their UPN promos and won't be promoting themselves as UPN stations anymore for the rest of the TV season. Why bother promoting a network that is going to dump your station?! One rumor is that FOX might start up a new network of its own to put programming on their owned stations that carried UPN. But that sounds like something second-rate.
Who knows. All I know is that the UPN and WB affiliates in Buffalo, NY got broadsided with this terrible news. One of these stations is going to come out of this in good shape with a full network affiliation and identity, while the other is going to be stuck having to fill out a schedule with syndicated junk all day and infomercials all night. That station is going to see its ratings go into the toilet for sure, and that could mean junking their local newscast. On the positive side, though, they might have to put on a lot of sports to replace their network programming, so I'll look forward to seeing lots of baseball and basketball games on one of these stations real soon.
Viewers are going to end up big losers in this whole setup; we're going to end up with less choice on our TV screens. And we're losing a network with real personality in the WB, which had a unique style of its own as a youth-oriented network. I don't see this new network having the same kind of personality. The CW?! What's that, a washroom or something?!
What a name. I guess it's supposed to mean a combination of CBS and Warner Brothers, but really, I don't like this as a viewer. Sure, these two networks got lousy ratings and lost a lot of money. But they had good shows. What the heck is going to happen to SMACKDOWN? Is the WWE a part of this deal?
I don't know what will happen. FOR ALL TV FANS, THIS IS SAD.