CBS Corporation and Warner Bros. Entertainment Form New 5th Broadcast Network
The announcement for the new network was made today in New York by Leslie Moonves, President and Chief Executive Officer of CBS Corporation and Barry Meyer, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Warner Bros. Entertainment. The Tribune Broadcasting affiliation agreements were announced by Dennis FitzSimons, Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer of Tribune Company.
At the same time, it was announced that CBS Corporation and Warner Bros. Entertainment will cease operations of their respective networks -- UPN and The WB. The WB and UPN will continue to broadcast their respective network schedules independently until the fall.
The combination of Tribune's 16 major market stations and the 12 CBS-owned UPN major market affiliates give The CW instant coverage in 48% of the country. The remainder of the network's distribution system will be a combination of selected current UPN and The WB stations. The full distribution of the new network is expected to exceed 95% of the country.
Dawn Ostroff, currently President of UPN, will become President of Entertainment and John Maatta, currently Chief Operating Officer of The WB, will become Chief Operating Officer of The CW.
"This new network will serve the public with high-quality programming and maintain our ongoing commitment to our diverse audience," said Moonves. "It will clearly be greater than the sum of its parts, delivering excellent demographics to advertisers, and building a strong new affiliate body. Additionally, The CW will be able to draw from the creative talent and production resources from the top two television production studios in the business, while also seeking programming from all sources -- independent producers or other studios. With this move, we will be creating a viable entity, one well-equipped to compete, thrive and serve all our many publics in this multi-channel media universe. I'd like to thank Dawn Ostroff and all the talented people at UPN who have worked so hard. For many years UPN had financial losses, but under CBS's guidance, UPN has been able to effect a dramatic creative turnaround in a short period of time."
"This new network makes sound business and creative sense at every level -- for our viewers, advertisers, affiliates and for the shareholders of our companies," said Meyer. "Every key constituency of the network will now greatly benefit from this combination by being part of a highly rated, competitive, 5th broadcast network that is financially sound. As we form this new joint venture, we are also very pleased that in Dawn and John we have a management team of great creative vision and business acumen, one that will help to guide it successfully forward."
"This is a very exciting day for Time Warner and its shareholders in the creation of what we believe will be a very strong and viable 5th broadcast television network," said Jeff Bewkes, President & Chief Operating Officer of Time Warner. "This new network will have all the strategic asset value as an outlet for our programming that The WB presented us, but with a much firmer and more secure financial present and future. The credit goes to Barry Meyer, who continues to have tremendous vision and extraordinary business acumen as the long time leader of Warner Bros. Entertainment, a company that we are proud to say continues to be number one in its class."
"This is a great day for Tribune and its shareholders, and we are pleased to be the lead affiliate group of what will be a strong network," said FitzSimons. "We could not have had a better partner than Warner Bros. and Barry Meyer since we together launched The WB 11 years ago. Now, with the ownership role of CBS Corporation and the leadership of Leslie Moonves added to the mix, Tribune's viewers and advertisers will benefit from an even stronger programming lineup."
The CW will incorporate The WB's current scheduling model, which consists of a 6 night-13 hour primetime lineup including Monday through Friday nights from 8-10 (EST/PST); Sundays from 7-10 (EST/PST); Sunday from 5-7 (EST/PST) outside of primetime as well as a Monday thru Friday afternoon block from 3-5 (EST/PST) and a 5-hour Saturday morning animation block. Together, the network will program 30 hours a week over seven days for its affiliated stations.
In addition, The CW will also broadcast the schedule of children's programming now known as Kids' WB!, a 5-hour original programming block on Saturday mornings from 7:00 a.m.-Noon, considered primetime for kids. Kids' WB! has been the broadcast network ratings champion since Fall 2000, capturing 16 consecutive sweep victories as the Number One Saturday morning kids' broadcaster.
should be intresting...