Jackie Gleason, The Honeymooners
We all know that CW is a terrible name for the new network that will combine programming from WB and UPN. There have even been reports that co-owners CBS and Time Warner could change it before next season.
That's why the Biz is here to help. Before they pay hundreds of thousands of dollars in fees to a branding consultant, they should try this: the DuMont Network.
As readers who've spent hours in the bathroom with The Complete Directory to Prime Time Network and Cable TV Shows already know, DuMont was the original "fourth network" that was in business from 1948 to 1956. With no radio network from which to draw for talent or shows, DuMont was the first TV network to create its own stars (just like WB was doing in happier times). It was where Jackie Gleason did his first Honeymooners skit. It introduced America to the comic genius of Ernie Kovacs. Such a heritage would play great with the many nostalgia-loving TV critics out there.
Tom Amandes, Treat Williams and Scott Wolf, Everwood
Question: We just heard the news that WB and UPN are merging to create the CW network. We are nonplussed to put it lightly, and shocked out of our socks to put it bluntly. UPN and WB have always been each other's closest competitor! We are wondering what your opinion of this development is — especially pertaining to the effect it will have on programming. On one hand, it could mean bigger budgets and better promotion for quality shows like Veronica Mars (which could definitely use a lot more of both). On the other hand, a bigger network means higher expectations and less patience. By that we mean, will the CW continue to nurture well-reviewed but low-rated niche shows or will they turn into another Fox, axing original, high-quality programming when it fails to be an immediate success? Do you think the merge will have any effect on in-development programming (such as Amy Sherman-Palladino's new series)? Also, will the CW be available in all the same areas that WB and UPN are currently? ...
Question: For real, there's going to be a Girlfriends spin-off (Ask Ausiello 1/18)? What's the premise?
Answer: Would I lie to you? Would I lie to you, honey? The potential offshoot will center on three women whose "son or boyfriend or husband plays professional football," explains Dawn Ostroff. "It's about the women behind the men." The characters will be introduced in an episode of Girlfriends later this season.
The question has hovered over UPN and WB since both "weblets" launched in 1995: Is there room for both?
The resounding answer came, with no warning, Tuesday morning: no. Instead, UPN and WB will merge into a new entity, known as the CW (conventional wisdom? country western?), in the fall.
The business implications are beyond me to comment upon — as in: In markets like mine, where there is both a UPN and WB affiliate, which channel becomes CW and what happens to the other? — but there does seem to be some logic in the notion of merging the best of both networks' schedules to create a truly viable fifth broadcast network with higher market penetration.
It's way too early to know for sure which UPN and WB shows will survive and how they'll be programmed to fill the six-night, 13-hour schedule (patterned on WB's). But if I had to put together a CW schedule from what exists now, keeping in mind that there will likely be new shows in the fall from the developme
Question: Here's a chance to really show your stuff, Mike. What's the one show you have some pretty major scoop on that no one has asked you about? I mean, I want something really weird, far-out and bizarre.
Answer: UPN is developing a Girlfriends spin-off. How's that?
Singer-actress Brandy, who previously headlined UPN's Moesha, is returning to series television. In an as-yet-untitled WB comedy penned by Girlfriends creator Mara Brock Akil, Brandy will play a tried-and-true New Yorker who relocates to Los Angeles to take a job as — get this — an entertainment news editor. Pfft, good luck with that, kid.