UPN and The WB Merge

Come September, UPN and The WB are out, and "The CW" is in. The CBS Corporation and Warner Brothers are merging their two networks in an effort to drive up ratings.

Two networks joining forces: an unprecedented event in television history.

"The CW will be able to do, in its first season, something truly remarkable -- program already hit shows every single day of the week," according to CBS President and CEO Leslie Moonves.

"No one knew this was going to happen," said Dell Billings, KBTX promotions manager, "and when we all found out, we said, 'OK, what do we do now?'"

It's the critical question on the minds of many stations, especially one that launched a UPN affiliate just hours before the stealthy announcement.

"This is a work in progress," said KBTX General Manager Mike Wright. "It's just underway. None of us have any answers. It's all a wait and see."

While some of the larger market affiliations have been decided, the new network will look at each market individually to decide where The CW will land. For the heads of UPN BCS, there is a distinct determination to be home to the new station.

"I don't think that with our relationship and standing with CBS for so many years that the relationship is going to go unnoticed," Wright said.

And the work it would take to again launch a new network?

"The logistics don't change. The graphics do," said Billings. "In a way, it's not a difficult change for us if we become an affiliate of The CW."

"You can pretty well count on us being very aggressive in this effort," said Wright, "to know that we want to do what is best for this community to fill the programming void that exists, and we certainly plan on The CW being part of the KBTX family when the dust settles."

But for now, it's still very much rising.

Officials at the local station that airs WB programming locally, KYLE, were unavailable for comment.

General Manager Mike Wright says KBTX's new station will not shut down if The C-W does not air on the channel.

The following story is from the Associated Press on Tuesday's merger.

NEW YORK -- CBS and Warner Brothers Entertainment plan to form a new fifth TV network and launch it this fall.

At the same time, the two companies will cease operations of their respective networks -- UPN and The WB. They will continue to broadcast their respective schedules independently until the fall.

CBS President and CEO Leslie Moonves says the new operation, to be known as The CW, will target an 18-to-34-year-old audience and use existing programing from UPN and The WB.

The CW will also broadcast the schedule of children's programming now known as Kids' WB!, a five-hour original programming block on Saturday mornings.

The programming will be distributed by Tribune Broadcasting and CBS's UPN affiliates, which have agreed separately to sign ten-year affiliation agreements with the new network. That combination will give The CW instant coverage in 48 percent of the country.


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