UPN and WB to Merge as CW PDQ

Struggling television networks UPN and WB are merging come September as “CW.”

Two part-time broadcast networks moved to become a combined larger one today as CBS and the Warner Brothers studio announced they were joining forces to form a new network, called the CW, out of the pieces of the UPN and WB networks. The new venture will cherry-pick the best programs off the two decade-old mini-networks, each of which has struggled to turn a profit. The owners, each of which will take a 50 percent stake in the new venture, expressed the hope that an expanded fifth network – which will program 30 hours a week, including prime-time and some daytime shows – will succeed where a fifth and sixth in competition with each other could not.

Both the WB and UPN will continue operate independently until September, when they will be formally shut down. The new network – whose name, CW, is meant to be a combination of CBS and Warner – will commence operations on a new lineup of stations made up of the UPN group owned by CBS and those owned by the WB’s station partner, Tribune Broadcasting.

I was hoping it stood for “Country and Western,” filling a niche gone since the demise of the Nashville Network.

Since “Star Trek: Enterprise” was canceled, the only show I watch on either network is “Smallville.” I suspect that will still be the case in November.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Dodd says:

    This should have happened years ago. Then we could’ve had a guest appearance by Angel during Season Six of Buffy.

  2. htom says:

    Veronica Mars.

    I’m beginning to think that broadcast TV is totally lost. Mmmmmmax Headroom is on the way.

  3. McGehee says:

    There are still broadcast networks?

  4. David R. Block says:

    That’s interesting. I wonder what will happen in certain major cities where there are affiliates of both of those existing networks?? For instance, Dallas has KTXA, 21, UPN, and KDAF, 33, WB. KTXA is owned directly by Viacom/CBS, and KDAF is owned by Tribune, which, I think, has lots of other WB stations.

  5. McGehee says:

    I imagine if there’s any struggling in such markets over which station gets to stay with the new combined network, CW will be able to auction the affiliation to the higher bidder.