Tuesday, January 24, 2006

The CW?

It was announced today that UPN and The WB would shut down their separate operations and merge into a unified network called The CW in the fall of 2006. CBS Corporation and Warner Bros. would each hold a 50% stake in the new network.

I'm conflicted as to what I think about this. On the one hand, it seems like a great thing to have so many very good shows under one roof and it will undoubtedly boost some shows. Veronica Mars always seemed like a WB show and now it will, technically, become one. However, I am also disappointed in this announcement because it will likely mean the end of most of the black shows on UPN.

It's interesting to note that both The WB and UPN relied a lot on black audiences early in their runs to get viewers. The WB brought us such shows as The Jamie Foxx Show, The Steve Harvey Show, Sister Sister (after ABC cancelled it), and The Wayans Bros. However, as The WB gained viewers and an identity, the black shows gradually disappeared. UPN still has black shows such as Girlfriends, Half & Half, Eve, Cuts, One On One, All Of Us, and the new hit Everybody Hates Chris. Now, with the large library of shows to choose from, it's clear that The CW will probably no longer need black audiences. I think that every black show except Everybody Hates Chris, Girlfriends, and Half & Half will get canceled. I also think that like Fox and The WB before it, The CW will greenlight few (if any) new black shows (or minority-driven shows) over the next few years and in as little as two years, Everybody Hates Chris will be the only black show on the network.

One thing I also have to wonder about is...what will happen to those UPN/WB affiliates that won't be carrying The CW's programming? Will they become independent again or will they just close up shop?

Regardless, there is one thing I sincerely hope happens regarding this new channel. I hope they change the name. The CW sounds ridiculous...even worse than The WB.

Update: I have written an article about this on Blog Critics that gives more detail...and a more subdued analysis. Check it out.

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