What do you get when you add UPN & The WB?
As NATPE got under way in Las Vegas, a major announcement rocked the convention. The WB and UPN are merging to form a new network: The CW. “C” for CBS Corp. and “W” for Warner Bros. – each of which will own half of the new entity and contribute programs, assets and executives to the venture. The move seems to be inspired by CBS, which as a newly separate publicly traded company at the start of this year has made several significant deals.
The New CW will launch this fall and will be carried on the 11 stations owned by UPN (CBS Corp.), guaranteeing carriage in about 47% of the country (20 of the top 25 DMAs). The combination will trigger a shake-up of network affiliations in a number of cities. In the seven cities that have a Tribune-owned station and also one UPN-owned station, the companies have already divvied up which ones will carry the new network - Tribune stations in four markets, and CBS-owned ones in the other three.
In other cities that have both WB affiliates and UPN affiliates that are not owned by either CBS or Tribune, it's not yet clear what will happen or what financial arrangements will be made. CW executives stated that the network would be looking at each market individually. The deal also opens the question of what will happen to the nine UPN-affiliated stations that are owned by the Fox network's parent company, News Corp. Fox already has its own stations in most of those markets, and several of those cities also have stations that will become affiliates of The CW.
Among the Tribune stations that will join the new network are its flagship WGN in Chicago as well as WPIX in New York, and KTLA in Los Angeles. Links: TVWeek.com Jan 24 ’06 - Tribune Execs: All Eyes on Fox in Wake of UPN-WB Merger, Broadcasting & Cable Jan 24 ’06 - WB, UPN Fold Shocks NATPE in Vegas, UPDATED 01/25 - LATimes.com Jan 25, ’06 - CBS, Warner to Shut Down 2 Networks and Form Hybrid