The new network, which is to be called CW (for CBS-Warner) will replace UPN and The WB networks, which will shut down. The network will be a 50-50 partnership between CBS and Warner Brothers. The network will be carried on stations owned by the Tribune Company, amongst others.
The merger is in response to the struggling of both networks, neither of which have attracted much viewership away from the big four networks since they being formed in the early 90s. However each have had some strengths. The WB has been more popular with younger viewers and has had hits with television shows Smallville and Gilmore Girls. UPN has recently received critical acclaim for its sitcom Everybody Hates Chris and World Wrestling Entertainment’s Smackdown! has been a mainstay since it debuted on the network. The new network’s schedule will be announced in May; until then the networks will operate their schedules independently. The new network is planning to target the 18-34 age bracket in prime time, and will contain both shows from the WB and UPN.
With UPN’s 12 affiliated station, together with Tribune’s 16 stations gives the new network coverage over half of the country. The Tribune stations that will be apart of the new network is WGN in Chicago, WB flagship station, WPIX in New York and KTLA in Los Angeles. WPIX will become the flagship station of the new network. Tribune will relinquish its 22.5% stake in the WB in return for a 10-year affiliation agreement with the network in turn.
Dawn Ostroff, currently the president of UPN, will become president of entertainment and John Maatta, currently the chief operating officer of the WB, will become chief operating officer of the CW.
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