WB Net, UPN to merge, become the CW TV Network
By Paul J. Gough
from the hollywoodreporter.com
NEW YORK -- In a bombshell announcement that caught television industry insiders by surprise Tuesday morning, The WB and UPN have cut a deal to join forces as a new single network dubbed The CW that will be comprised of programming and executive talent from both of its predecessors.In a top-secret megadeal unveiled at a surprise news conference in midtown Manhattan, CBS Corp. and Time Warner will own 50% of the new network that will eventually have coverage in more than 95% of the country. UPN president Dawn Ostroff will become The CW's president of entertainment; WB Network chief operating officer John Maata will be the chief operating officer of the newly formed entity.Both UPN and The WB will cease operations and go off the air in September. The CW will program 13 primetime hours across six nights as well as a Kids WB block on Saturdays and two hours of syndicated programming in the weekday afternoons, essentially mirroring The WB model. While a schedule won't be released until the upfronts in May, the new network could carry shows like "Gilmore Girls," "Supernatural" and "Smallville" from The WB and "America's Next Top Model," "Veronica Mars" and "Everybody Hates Chris" from UPN.Leslie Moonves, CBS Corp. president and CEO, said that thanks to existing programming on both networks The CW would have "already hit shows every single day of the week."