UPN, WB to Form New Network

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Struggling television networks UPN and WB are combining their assets under a new name CW, debuting in September. The new youth-oriented network will be a joint venture between CBS and Time Warner.


Struggling television networks UPN and the WB are combining their assets under a new name, CW. The new network will be a joint venture, split 50/50 between CBS and Time Warner. NPR's David Folkenflik reports.


Since their start in 1995, neither one of the mini-networks got enough traction to pose a threat to the big networks, ABC, NBC, CBS and FOX. UPN and the WB pursued different, if younger audiences. UPN with more an emphasis on African-Americans, and the WB on women. It's not yet clear what lineup will emerge on the CW. It's likely to build on shows like UPN's popular Friday wrestling show and America's Next Top Model, as well as the WB's Smallville. They appealed to viewers aged 18 to 34, the ones advertisers find hardest to reach. CBS owns UPN, while the WB is owned by Time Warner and the Tribune Company. Leslie Moonves, the CEO of CBS, crowed about the new network's demographics yesterday.

Mr. LESLIE MOONVES (President and CEO, CBS Television): The CW is going to be a real competitor; a destination for young audiences, for diverse audiences, and a real favorite with advertisers.

FOLKENFLIK: And Moonves told reporters it should be a success from the outset, by cherry picking top shows from UPN and the WB.

Mr. MOONVES: The CW will be able to do, in its first season, something truly remarkable: program hit shows, already hit shows, every single day of the week.

FOLKENFLIK: The WB and UPN will continue to broadcast until September. At that point, the CW will appear on 12 UPN stations owned by CBS, 16 Tribune Company stations, and other affiliates. David Folkenflik, NPR News.

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