Effective this fall, Warner Bros. and CBS are munging the WB and UPN together into one new network, to be called CW. (Yeah, makes me think “country-western,” too, but hey, they didn’t ask me for my opinion.) The best shows of each network (such as Smallville, Gilmore Girls, Veronica Mars, Everybody Hates Chris) will all wind up on CW.
I’m personally a big fan of this development for a couple of reasons. One, those two networks were something of a waste on their own, especially the terminally-wretched UPN. Neither youth-skewing network ever really took off, though the WB did far, far better than UPN. Combining the networks will, as Brian said when I told him about the merger, “take the decent 25% of shows on one and the decent 25% of shows on the other and make one network with 50% decent programming.” And that’s going to put it right about on par with the four major broadcast networks — and probably a better rate than NBC.
Secondly, it means I’ll actually get Gilmore Girls and Smallville at the times they’re actually shown. As it stands right now, Providence doesn’t have a WB station at all — and we have two UPN stations. Apparently we used to have one of each, but shortly before we moved here, the WB station switched over to UPN… and the other station stuck with UPN, too. One of them shows the more popular WB shows at bizarre times after they’re done with all of the shitty UPN programming. (So will both of those stations show CW programming this fall? I wonder.)
This new network might have a chance at doing what both UPN and the WB wanted to accomplish but neither could on their own: become a legitimate fifth major network.