CBS and Time Warner have decided that rather than continue in their “Let’s-see-who-can-bleed-to-death-first!” contest, the hugely unprofitable UPN and slightly-less unprofitable WB television network shall be one, Bloomberg reports.
To be reflagged as the CW Television Network the new entity will begin airing in September as the fifth-largest broadcaster by viewers, Bloomberg reports. CBS, owner of UPN, and Time Warner, part owner of WB, will each own 50 percent, the companies said today in a statement. (WB network investor Tribune Co. will give up its stake in the weblet in return for an affiliate agreement with CW.)
Merging the two might finally create a profitable network, but it still doesn’t address the fact that both networks lost viewers in the last two years, and the deal doesn’t address the obvious advantage that cable channels like F/X have when it comes to airing edgier and raunchier fare.
On the plus side, you’ll never have to make the Thursday night “Sophie’s Choice” of choosing between watching the WB’s “Smallville” and UPN’s “Everybody Hates Chris.”
The oligarch getting biggest headache from all this seems to be News Corp.:
“News Corp. hadn’t decided how it will program its UPN stations, which are in cities including New York, Chicago and Los Angeles, spokesman Andrew Butcher said. The stations can’t be switched to the Fox network because News Corp. already owns stations in each of the cities, he said.”
Something tells me Rupert’s not going to be thrilled with airing infomercials in America’s three largest TV markets.