Monday, September 18, 2006

THE CW SIGNS ON--- R.I.P. UPN AND THE WB

Tonight the new CW network signed on with a repeat of Gilmore Girls, a holdover from the WB, as its first prime-time show. Wednesday is the official launch with the new season of America's Next Top Model, a series which of course formerly aired on UPN.

I didn't say very much about the closure of UPN because, well, that network was totally unsuccessful to begin with. Its only good shows over the years began with the famous words "Star Trek"-- the rest of their shows were a joke. It did show Buffy the Vampire Slayer for a while after it left the WB, and also aired Veronica Mars, but that's about it. In fact it's hard for me to get too worked up about the UPN shutdown because for long periods of time I didn't even have access to this network. I eventually was able to watch it on UPN 38 out of Boston for a period of time, and out of Cleveland on WUAB 43. Only recently did WNLO in Buffalo pick the network up.

For all intents and purposes UPN died months ago, most of its key stations had dropped all mention of "UPN" and "the UPN network", even though they still ran their shows. Pretty much all the affiliates in the major cities had dropped UPN in favor of MyNetwork TV a couple of weeks ago. UPN's final show was WWE Smackdown! on Friday night and it wound up being carried in much of the United States on WB/CW owned stations and affiliates, because most of these UPN stations had switched to MyNetwork in prime time and were showing that awful Bo Derek dreck.

At least the WB went out in a dignified manner- it showed Felicity, Angel, Buffy and Dawson's Creek pilots on Sunday night. It also aired this promo as the network signed off the air for the last time. CHECK IT OUT.

The final montage featured a clip from the old "watch the Frog" promo campaign for the WB network from a couple of years ago. And then they showed a montage of the many stars who had shows on the WB over the years- folks like Jamie Foxx, Steve Harvey, Katie Holmes, Reba McIntyre, and the Wayans Brothers. Yes, Jamie Foxx was on the WB; people forget that- it was The Jamie Foxx Show.

I didn't know Amanda Peet had a show on the WB, too. It was called Jack and Jill, and it didn't last too long. Tonight she was on Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip, on NBC.

The music they played in that final promo came from their 1999 "Faces" campaign- and the footage was collected from all the promos the WB aired over the years. Boy, this was emotional, seeing Michigan J. Frog take his final bow and see the WB network sign off the air. This was like watching NBC or ABC fade to black for the last time. I know some of these writer hacks will say this was a nothing network and who cares that it is gone, but I don't buy it. People watched this network, people cared about these shows! They are going to look back and write books about the WB network and its impact on the history of television and on pop culture in the early 21st century. Fans of the network, especially the teenage girls and the sci-fi freaks, will remember their favorite shows. Meanwhile, readers of the lad mags will remember all the "girls of the WB" who posed in MAXIM, FHM and the other magazines that defined this era. You have to bet these editors are going to miss the WB, bigtime; girls like Melissa Joan Hart and Alyssa Milano kept them in business. These popular actresses made all these publishers filthy rich.

THE WB: A NETWORK WITH CHARISMA

Speaking of someone who made publishers rich--- I gotta say, after watching Angel and Buffy last night, that Charisma Carpenter is beyond hot. Look at the shows she was on on this network, two of the most iconic ones. She may not have been the biggest star on the network, but she was always there. So she ended up being a big part of the farewell night for the WB. Charisma's really made quite the career for herself on the WB and UPN--- and in fact she's still on the air on the CW, on Veronica Mars.

Twenty or thirty years from now, people are going to look back on this actress the way that guys remember these 70s women like Lynda Carter, Pamela Sue Martin, Loni Anderson, Farrah Fawcett and other starlets that defined that period of time on TV. Same for this chick. What can I say? Charisma is the ultimate "girl of the WB!"


(I know, I know... I'm gushing over girls again.)

UPDATE:
Was watching Tavis Smiley's show and noticed they did an interview with Dawn Ostroff, president of the CW, and she talked about the merger and the new season and all that. Here's a profile of her. You fans of Everwood can send the angry letters about that show's cancellation her way. Give up already, eh?!

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